“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol was first published in London in December 1843. The beloved story tells of Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old miser, who is transformed to generous gregarious gentleman after his former associate, Marley, shows him 3 ghostly visitations—the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and The Ghost of Yet to Come.
Marley’s ghost who is forever cursed to wander the earth dragging heavy chains, crafted by a life time of greed and selfishness. Marley says:
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard…”
The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to scenes of Scrooge’s childhood where he was innocence and kind but then moves forward showing him neglecting his fiancée Belle. When Belle realizes Scrooge will never love her as much as he loves money, she ends their relationship. Scrooge is forced to see her see her happy without him with her large close family on a recent Christmas Eve.
Ghost Marley wishes Scrooge to understand our past cannot be changed. But there is hope in the future with the visit of the Ghost Of Yet To Come.
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”
The Ghost Of Yet To Come
Scrooge decides to change; he awakens the following morning, filled with joy, love and generosity in his heart. He remembers his over-worked employee, Bob Cratchit with a turkey and pay raise. He becomes a 2nd father to his crippled son, Tiny Tim and our model today of the spirit of Christmas.
How Do We Have A Scrooge Epiphany and learn the lesson of past, present and future?
Have your ever wondered what you would see if Marley’s Ghost visited you? Do you have past mistakes you refuse to change? Do you withhold generosity from others ignoring their suffering? Are you a workaholic not seeing joy in the present?
Clients suffering from anxiety are challenged to shift their thoughts from the future and stay in the present moment, which is a good temporary strategy. But you also need forward planning in order in ensure the best outcome.
The reality, as Scrooge learned, is you have to keep all three—the past, present and future in mind to avoid a life of regrets.
You need to stay in the past long enough to recognize mistakes, the future forecasts the outcome, but power is in the present moment; the power is now. As T.S. Monson said,
The Past is behind, learn from it.
The future is ahead, prepare for it.
The Present is here, live in it.
Honor Christmas in your heart. Recognize the lessons of all your ghosts. Here is my favorite Christmas quote:
This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.” –Howard Hunter
Camille Foster, LCSW
Contact Me: 801.472.7134/ email@example.com
Here is an interesting interview with famous quarterback, Steve Young where he talks about his struggle with anxiety (6.50 on the moniker). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc3n8pcOqXk
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See also my post about living in the present moment: https://utahmentalhealthservices.com/2013/09/25/give-yourself-a-present-by-living-in-the-present-how-staying-in-the-here-and-now-moment-frees-you-from-anxiety-and-depression/