Several years have come and gone since I watched the movie or read A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens’s famous Christmas novella has been read, remade, and remembered each holiday season. Ebenezer Scrooge was given the chance to look at his past and his future so that he could change his present. The story is set during the Christmas season, which adds meaning to its message. I think all of us would make some changes if we shared Ebenezer’s experience.
What if our story was A Christian Christmas Carol? What if we went to bed tonight and the angel Gabriel appeared to each Christian asking, “What moment from the past would you like to witness?” Then Gabriel would offer to show us any moment in the future. How would that experience change us this Christmas?
What Christmas moment from the past would you ask to see? I would ask to stand by the shepherds as they went to see the baby Jesus. I’ve often wondered what Mary’s face looked like as she held her newborn son. Mary knew she was holding a miracle from God . . . I wish I could see her expression as she listened to the shepherds tell her about their miracle as well. Imagine the quiet, reverent awe shared by everyone involved.
What moment in the future would you ask Gabriel to see? For me, that was a more difficult question. Several scenes come to mind, but those thoughts are soon followed by the “what ifs.” God didn’t tell us a lot about our future, and this exercise helped me realize why. Knowing the future would change our present lives—and that would be both good and bad. But, if I had to pick one Christmas image from the future, I would pick the first Christmas after the return of Christ.
Would I know how many years this world has left? Would Gabriel show me everyone in heaven, or everyone left behind? Would I see myself included in the joyful worship of heaven, or would I see the crowds of people who are lost and separated eternally from God? The glimpse from the future would be whatever God told Gabriel to show me. Which Christmas scenes would God want me to see?
Dickens’s story has been around since the Christmas of 1843 and it is still being told and retold today. God’s Christmas story has been around much longer. Both stories have the same theme—redemption. One day it will be too late to make changes and choices, but it isn’t too late today.
God has given us another Christmas to show kindness, to offer worship and to share the same reverent awe felt by Mary and the shepherds. Christmas is still a miracle. How has that miracle changed your past? How will that miracle change your future? Finally, how does that miracle change your Christmas holiday now?
At the end of the story, Ebenezer Scrooge makes a commitment for his life. Scrooge says, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.” Compare that quote to the message of Revelation 1:8.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
There is a Spirit of the past, the present and the future. He is the Creator of the world, the baby in the manger, the man of the cross and the One who will come someday to take us to heaven. He is the Holy Spirit who indwells every Christian today. May his presence fill your life with the reason to celebrate this Christmas, and every Christmas to come.
Merry Christmas to each of you and . . . “may God bless us everyone.“
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: How do you emphasize to your children that Jesus is the central focus of Christmas?