My wife and son and I just saw another presentation of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” the day after Thanksgiving. It was very well done, and if you live in the Indianapolis area, the IRT does a great job. As we sat there in our second row seats being dusted by plastic snow from the machine hanging over the stage, it was indeed a perfect place for a nostalgic moment. When the spirit of “Christmas past” appeared, I checked out for a few moments and allowed my mind to wander over Christmas pasts. I remember going to the huge downtown department store in Fort Wayne, Indiana and looking at all the electronic people and scenes in the store window. I would go inside and get to sit on Santa’s lap. If you are against children talking to Santa, you might fast forward to the end. This was a big deal and big trip in our family. We never went to Paris, London, or Berlin. But, we did go to Wolf and Dessauer Department store in Fort Wayne. We would go first to G.C. Murphy’s Five and Dime and I would be allowed to get something, usually I chose the red and green iced cake doughnuts. I was always drawn toward good nutrition. Sometimes we would eat at the stand-up counter, better yet often we would go to the Coney Island hot dog place also downtown. Even as I write this I have a smile on my face.
The importance was really not the places, but the people you were with, your family and on occasion some friends as well. I remember my first Christmas as a college student and looking forward to coming home for the holidays. I remember our first Christmas as a married couple and our First Christmas away from home and that we were by ourselves. I remember when our son was born in December and on his first Christmas I placed him in a large stocking and had a picture of our ultimate stocking stuffer.
What I remember as well was the starting and continuing of traditions. Tradition has taken on a negative connotation in some quarters. Yet, there is still the need for tradition and continuity in many areas of life. Yes we need the new, but some of the old is nice as well.
So as you prepare yourself this Advent, remember the past, not just the immediate past, but the past that leads to a stable in Bethlehem. A star shining in the Eastern sky. A little family, and outcast shepherds and remember that “unto us is born this day in the city of Bethlehem, a Savior for all the world.” The power of that Christmas past still makes all the difference in 2014.