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Plain and Simple for De. 8, 2016 / December 08, 2016
The word “past” is such a small word. And yet, it conveys everything that has happened in our lives or in time up until this present moment. William Faulkner said that, “The past is not dead. It is not even past.” He refers to the fact that the past continually impinges upon the present and the future.

As we look toward Christmas, we have many memories of Christmas past. We probably remember all the Christmas carols, all the decorations, and all the Christmas dinners with friends and relatives. For some of us, there may have been Christmas memories that are not easy to endure. My nephew, who was only thirty-eight, died on Christmas Eve and left behind three young daughters. Perhaps you have lost a loved one or ended a relationship or faced illness. Sometimes, Christmas can be quite blue.

The great thing about Advent and Christmas is that Jesus came to bring us hope of a new day. He is Emmanuel, God with us. We do not have to be slaves to the past; we do not have to allow the scripts that have seized control of us to continue to doom us to harmful behavior. We may be set free in Christ Jesus.

One of the great stories of Christmas is “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens. We all remember Scrooge and identify him with bitterness, stinginess, and ill-will. Bah! Humbug! When we hear those words, we identify with Scrooge. But one of the tragedies of “A Christmas Carol” is that Dickens may have done his job too well. We stereotype Scrooge so much that we forget that he was transformed at the end. Scrooge learned a new way to handle life and was thus born again.

Advent tells us that we have the opportunity to begin again. It does not matter what we carry around with us from the past. If someone like Scrooge can be redeemed, then certainly we can find salvation! In Advent, we look forward to an event that has already happened. We have already been set free in Christ Jesus. We need only to accept that gift. As you prepare for Christmas this year, think about how you experienced Christmas in the past.

Do you need to be introduced to joy, hope, love, and peace?

Advent is the perfect time to open your hearts to the Christ-child.

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