In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the first of three spirits Ebenezer Scrooge encounters on his journey of transformation is the Ghost of Christmas Past. Scrooge is shown Christmases of long ago, those filled with longing and sadness, and those filled with celebration and laughter. As a child in a boarding school, he saw a Christmas spent away from home and family, and witnessed a sadness in himself in the separation from his beloved sister. Yet, he was also shown Christmas during his young adult years working for Fezziwig and moments of dancing and joviality with his beloved Belle. Happy or sad, the Ghost showed him the truth to help him grow and change.
It is times during the Holiday season in which our own Ghosts of Christmas Past pop in to let us relive moments from years before. It is up to us to decide how those memories affect the current season. “No more, I cannot bear the pain,” would be the response of remembering a loved one who had passed on, or “Those were great times,” in remembering the excitement of us as children, or our own children as the magic of Christmas morning unfolds in gift giving and special surprises.
Our past can affect us, and sometimes never more than during the Christmas Season. God can use it to help us focus on the true and present meaning of the season. If the past hurts, allow the feelings to come through in the comfort of knowing God wants us to see past the pain to focus on Him and His Christmas Gift of Jesus. If the past is happy, remember those moments and carry them forward to create new memories now. Reach out to others who may be struggling and know our friendship and connection can make a difference in how they experience the season.
Christmas can be a time of reflection, for somber understanding, giving and caring, and dealing with those ghosts of the past who want to rob us of the joy and peace God has in store. It takes courage to go on this journey, to see our past hurts and happiness for what they truly are, and to move forward with determination. We must realize each is not in vain, but serves a purpose to move us closer to Christ. So let us not be afraid, but hear the tidings of great joy and know our Savior has been born to us. The greatest Christmas Gift of all.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
~ Luke 2:9-11 NIV
April Yamasaki’s Holidays for the Hurting: A Devotion to Help You Heal