At the heart of ‘A Christmas Carol’ lies Scrooge’s transformation from a selfish, greedy and bitter old man, to a grateful, generous and compassionate individual. Scrooge was taken on a journey in which his life passed before his eyes. He was shown his life as it had been, as it was, and finally how it would be in the end. As a result, a man filled with deep regret has his life transformed, to the point where as Dickens concludes “he became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew.”
The story of Scrooge is a story of past, present, and possible futures. Through the story, Dickens delivers a message of hope and transformation. Christmas is but a part of God’s story of love for each of us. God’s story of love is also a story of Past, Present and Future. At Christmas we receive God’s message in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ who came to us long ago in a manger in Bethlehem. It is a story from the past. But Christmas exists within the story and the promise of Easter – an empty tomb and a promise of life eternal.
At Christmas, we must also be mindful of the affirmation of faith declared by the early church:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Christ – past, present, future.
Christmas past – the birth of a small baby in Bethlehem – Emmanuel – God with us;
Christmas present – Jesus alive and living within each of us this day;
Christmas yet to come – Jesus will return one day to rule as King on this earth.
Christmas is a time of great joy because of all three – past, present, and future.
We can rejoice that God has forgiven us for what we were once –
We can rejoice for all of God’s blessings that make us what we are today –
And we can be thankful that God is not done with us – for there so much more that we can be.
As Dickens’ wrote, we can declare, “I will live in the Past, Present and Future. And I will keep Christmas in my heart all the year!”
For those of us who believe in Christ, we need to honor Christmas in our hearts and “keep it all the year” Then others would say of us, “they knew how keep to Christmas well.”
Perhaps more importantly, others might say that “you knew Christ well.”