By: Dr. Barry Schwenk

What a wonderful time of the year!  Christmas is filled with so many memories.  Colette and I have been reflecting back to the many places we have been during Christmas.  It is really easy to get nostalgic at this time of year.  You remember the “good ol’ days” and try to recreate those magic moments.  Unfortunately, it usually turns out like those cringe worthy photos of adults recreating childhood photos.  Why do we torture ourselves like that?  What is it about the past that draws us in?  I think its two little words, “selective memory.”

We are really good at this and I’m finding that as I get older I have become a master.  We hold onto the things that bring us great joy.  We hold onto memories because we know the beginning, the middle and the end.  When we face today, we see troubles and worries and we don’t know what the future holds.  It is far easier for us to slip into the past than it is for us to face our present.  The past is complete.  There is no guessing.  There are no decisions to be made.

But if you really think about it, those moments in the past were troubling when we first went through them.  Those moments were not perfect or complete at the time.  As a matter of fact, we spent most of that time reminiscing about other days gone by.  We were looking back to complete moments so we would not have to face the uncertainty of the present.

Christmas has the power to break that cycle.  We can look all the way back to the first Christmas and we will find truth.  The first Christmas was filled with struggles, difficulties and fear.  Mary and Joseph, all alone in that stable with nothing more than their anxiety and yet, it quickly became a moment of eternal joy and peace.  Jesus entered into the world of darkness and brought light.  As we look back thousands of years, we still see that light.  Christmas wasn’t just a fleeting moment of the past but it was also the hope for an eternal future.  That light broke through the darkness so that we might have hope and joy and love that does not end.  We keep looking back, but Jesus brings that perfection into our present so that we need not fear the future.

There is nothing wrong with looking back but we were never meant to dwell there.  With Jesus, we see our past in perspective.  We see our present as time with Him that will not end or disappoint.  Make this Christmas one to remember.  Make this Christmas about the hope that you have in Christ Jesus.  We have spent Christmas in many places.  One day we will look back at this one and know that it too is special.  Not because of any reason other than the fact that it is spent in God’s will, in the presence of our precious Savior.

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