Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

Christmas Future

on December 21, 2018

better blurry christmas tree

Have you ever wondered why, in the classic tale “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, the Spirit of Christmases Yet to Come is portrayed as the Grim Reaper?

Christmas Past is a bright, beautiful fairy, dazzling in white light. In the movies she is dainty, with a soft voice and a kind manner. Christmas Present is a giant, laughing being, so full of joy and the milk of human kindness that he can’t help but spill it everywhere. And then in glides this terrifying apparition, pointing the way, silent as the grave – the spirit of the Future.

Is the future so terrifying that it must be represented by the very image of death? It’s an odd choice when you think about it. The future is unknown, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s dark, or something to be afraid of.

We know that death waits for us all – that’s part of being human. And Ebeneezer’s future was, at that exact moment in his life, not very bright at all. Which made me wonder – if there are such things as Spirits that embody the Past, Present, and Future Christmases that a person experiences in their lifetime, maybe they would be different  for each of us than the way they presented themselves to Mr. Scrooge.

Maybe for someone whose past was filled with violence and danger the spirit of the past wouldn’t be one of light and beauty. Maybe, for them, it would be a dark elf who delights in remembered misery.

For some, maybe the spirit of Christmas Present is a sad fellow, who in spite of all his good intentions not only can’t seem to alleviate the loneliness people feel, but actually makes them feel worse.

But then there’s this. Maybe the spirit of the future isn’t the shadow of death drawing nearer – maybe it’s more like a ball of light – not white, but made up of all colors, shifting and shimmering. It takes no permanent form, as it is always in motion, but sometimes in it you can catch glimpses of your hopes and dreams. This ball of light is always just ahead and slightly out of reach, and we can see its beauty even if we can’t guess its shape. That’s the kind of spirit of the future that I imagine most of us would conjure up – if the occasion were to ever arise, that is.

So maybe instead of losing ourselves completely in nostalgia this year, we could look ahead a little. Not with the resolution-making, goal-oriented, clean slate kind of purposefulness that comes with the beginning of the new year. But in stillness, with the past firmly behind us, hand-in-hand with the present, enjoying the lovely light of the future, twinkling and blurring like the lights of your Christmas tree if you squint your eyes.


Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash



One response to “Christmas Future

  1. Tom Taylor says:

    Beautifully written and the photo is perfect!
    Merry Christmas!


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