I've taken Mr. Scrooge's adventure into my own life these past couple of weeks. I blogged with photos of past Christmases and then told the story about our present day Christmas, also with photos. I know that things that happen in our past can influence who we turn out to be in our future. I had a wonderful childhood filled with good memories of past Christmas celebrations. As a young adult with small children I also feel blessed that we had many fun Christmases filled with family. Some of those family members aren't here now. My Dad, Jack's parents, my nephew Jono. Many Aunts and Uncles that were part of our celebrations are also not here. Their presence is felt at each gathering. The empty chairs, the guitar that Dad would play carols on, the voice of my Uncle Dave as he said the word "Santa"..he always said "Sanie Clause". Things that mean much more to me today than they did back then. Jack's Mom cooking her wonderful food and yelling at her boys to get out of the kitchen! (Usually they were causing mischief and getting in the way!) Jack's Dad standing in front of their huge Christmas tree and handing out the gifts so carefully chosen. Life speeding by and suddenly you realize that the future can hold many changes...many surprises both good and bad. The spirit of love and giving this time of year is one that we wish we could hold in our hearts and carry on all through the year. Like Mr. Scrooge reborn from a mean miser into a man who knew "how to keep Christmas" all year long, I would like to do the same. I would like to think that future Christmases would have all of us gathering together and when it's time for our chairs to be empty, those who are left will remember us fondly and all the times spent together remembered with love and laughter and warmth. In Mr. Scrooge's story, the spirit that visited him to foretell the future was the one he most feared and was the darkest part to be faced. What's encouraging from this story that I've watched way too much this season, (can you tell?) is the fact that it's never too late to change. You can look at your life and see what needs improved and how we can be better friends, neighbors, employees, family members, and even better in loving ourselves. Giving more of our time and talents and resources. Scrooge was desperate to change to make sure he could have things be better than what the spirits foretold. I can't predict the future but I hope that "Christmases yet to come" for our family will be as wonderful as this year's has been. Filled with the remembrances of the past, the happiness of today, and hope for the future.