by Ken Rolheiser
Grandparents and the Spirit of Christmas Future

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.)

“There is no Spirit of Christmas Future,” said a character in A Nashville Christmas Carol; “Our future is whatever we make it.” There is a future for all of us. We are all fired with Spirit and energy, and we are more loved by our God than we can imagine. But we are linked to the Past.

“I wear the chain I forged in life," said the Ghost in our literary Grandfather Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol; "I made it link by link and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” But we are delivered from the sins of our past.

Jesus came along and said, “Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). We can accept the gift of Christmas, unconditional love, and raise our eyes to the Star that brought the wise men to Bethlehem.

In an earlier Christmas column I shared “The Myrrh and Holly of Christmas”, the story of a pastor who visited a family who lost their daughter one Christmas Eve:
In the center of the room was a small casket. In it was the body of a little girl about six years old, lying there in a pretty white dress, ironed fresh and clean…
I could barely speak… “It’s all right,” he said, as if he were reassuring me. “She’s with the Lord, you know.” They had heard the great promise that underlies Christmas: “Because I live, you will live also”(John 14:19).

Can we understand the Gift of Christmas Future? This is my vision: “I am going to the Heavenly banquet with my parents and in-laws, my siblings who have gone before me will meet me there along with uncles and aunts, grandparents, great grandparents from Russia, and innumerable cousins and friends. 

“My one regret about this reunion is that I cannot bring along all the others who are most near and dear to me. I have a feeling they still don’t understand my joy, not for a while. I can hardly understand it myself. It moves me to tears.

But for now we can sing with the Angels and Heavenly choir this Christmas: “Silent Night”, “Joy to the World”, and all the carols that take us back to the innocence of childhood, a time when we believed, absolutely, in the incarnation and redemption role of the Son of God. 

Now we can again approach the Christ Child, as all babies are approachable, with awe and love. And we can look forward to…
In the season of long shadows the sunset paints the sky of Paradise. Sun dogs dance in swirling ice crystals that shadow spirits of Christmas Future.

The long afternoon fades as the senior sits in his chair by the window gazing out. There was a service two days ago and carols were sung. The Lord was raised on high as surely as those present were surrounded by saints and angels, still.

And Christmas is still loved into being. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8.

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