If ever there were a Christmas to dwell upon Dickens’ timeless offering to tradition, this is it.
This is it for a host of reasons, “Are there no workhouses?” is one. But another is the three Ghosts, creating chapters of Scrooge’s life for him to analyze where he has been, where he is and where he might want to be.
And so it is for all of us. The Ghost of Christmas Past looms large this season with the overdrive of nostalgia for our traditions of the past; how we have always done Christmas. It is this recollection, this dwelling upon what cannot now be, that brings a sharp pain to our hearts, that raises a tear in our eye. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has never meant so much to me as it does this year.
The Ghost of Christmas Present is the christening of acute awareness. This is where we are now. Right now. In this moment. In this Covid moment. In this moment that none of us ever imagined we would be. Being aware is certainly about being present for what is lost, but what is lost is what was past. What is present is what is precious because it could hardly be more real. Maybe, probably, our greater family gatherings will not occur. Faithful friends who are dear to us, won’t be near to us this year. But who is near to us is here with us right now. This Christmas is bitter-sweet. It is bitter, but it is also sweet. Maybe it can be as sweet as the first time you tasted your grandma’s Christmas candy. It is acutely special because it can’t help but be.
And so we will arrive at the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. As we look to relief mid-year, it is fair to start to get excited about what opportunities we will take, what Christmas we will make. As we start to cast off the melancholy, the cast-down eyes of a Christmas more somber than any we have known, we can envision what we want to create, how we want to live, how we want to enjoy Christmas next year and each and every Christmas yet to come.
Here is to the joys of Christmas Past, the keen awareness and sharp appreciation of Christmas Present and the exuberance of pondering, preparing and planning for all Christmases Yet To Come!
May it be so.