It has been reported the world will end one year hence, Dec. 21, 2012, to be exact. The reports have come by way of such indisputable sources as intergalactic celestial clockwork, unknown and long lost Mayans, the infamous Nostradamus, even the movie producers at Columbia Pictures themselves!
If the predicted event does come to pass it might not give me time to complete my lifelong ambition of writing the great American version of "A Christmas Carol." My version, if ever begun much less finished, should well have been repeated and revisited and reproduced so many times as to be as nauseating as Dickens' version. Alas, it appears I must now reorder my priorities re: Christmas -- with my great American story never written.
If my novel had included mention of a Christmas Past, perhaps it'd be services at a church in Kansas City, Missouri, which I visited in 1986. They "taught" that their generation of children (now in their 30s) would be the last generation before Christ returned. They adamantly pointed out that this was not to be an article for faith or doctrine, but rather a way of looking at life. If we behaved, they proposed, as if this generation was our last chance (this Christmas the last Christmas), how would we then live?
Of course there are those of us who recognized the fragility and fleetness of life. We recognize that a predictable percentage of people alive today will inadvertently experience their last Christmas in 2011. Assuming then, and it is quite an assumption, the world, or my world, or your world ends before Christmastime 2012, how would any prudent person live differently this Christmas Present?
Well, first, if I gave any gifts at all they would be thought-through gifts. Mine would be gifts motivated not by need or want (or greed). If I gave a gift it would be my feeble attempt to say, "I love you, have taken some time to think about you, and hope this gift lets you know that." For the record, if you don't get a gift from me it is not necessarily because I love you not; more likely I just couldn't find a way to express my feelings in mere things. Or, maybe it's just because I am wise enough to leave mere shopping to womenfolk.
Second, come this Christmas I'd have our daughter Susan arrange a family gathering. She'd invite everyone I care about whom I would want to see if this were going to be a last Christmas. There would be too many for our small home and we'd all have to gather in the Fellowship Hall at Christ Community Church.
Come to think of it, those are the very two things I plan to do this year -- what ever happens.
As to Christmas Future? Personally I have no objections to the world ending in a year, or tomorrow, or today. But am thinking I will wait for a specific, verifiable event before casting away my aspiration of the great American last Christmas Carol.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Maranatha!