In December 1983 we were on Long Service Leave, spending a week at Narooma on the NSW south coast. While there we visited Central Tilba.
This township has a "historical village" listing with the National Trust. It's had that for the past twenty-five years.
The houses and other buildings are wooden with iron roofs. No new buildings had been erected since prior to World War I.
"What's it like living in a historical village?" I asked the storekeeper.
"It has advantages of money for restoration work. But there are restrictions on what can be done. Any new buildings have to be in the old style…"
Clearly, some new things are there – like the electric fly-zapper and the prices! The lady in the honey shop was the only one we saw dressed in period style. In reality it's not easy to live in the past!
Sometimes it is said that Christians live in the past. That may be true for some – just keeping to all the old traditions and ways as if the world hasn't changed, avoiding real encounter with the world.
But the most dramatic change in the life of this world has been the coming, life death and resurrection of Jesus – he is alive!
Many people (including some who call themselves Christians) live in the past – as if he hasn't come, as if he isn't here!
Christmas is almost here! What a treat we share in each year! What is it going to mean for you and your family?
Some people have the idea that Christmas is all about recapturing a bit of the past – all those old traditional things that have been kept going for generations, including cards and gifts, trees and tinsel, turkey and plum pudding…
But Christmas is very much about living in the present. It is a celebration of what God did 2000 years ago. But that's more than past history – Jesus is alive! He came and comes in order to be part of your daily life.
Happy Christmas to you and yours!

© Peter J. Blackburn, The Back Page, December 1998
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1983.