Traditionally we associate spring with transformation and rebirth.

But as Charles Dickens so eloquently illustrated in his classic novella, "A Christmas Carol," Christmas, too, can be a season of change.

Many of us associate this holiday season with joyful memories of Christmases past. We remember visits with friends and family for dinners and parties, and sharing the beautiful candlelight services at church with our loved ones.

Those memories can be a wonderful reminder of why we love this time of year.

But sometimes they can haunt us as they did Ebenezer Scrooge. The recollection of those past special times spent with loved ones no longer with us can be painful.

So let's remember this Christmas to honor the present by appreciating everything we do have.

Miss your parents and grandparents? Embrace your friends all the tighter. Long for traditions you enjoyed in the past? Introduce them to friends and family, adding your own unique spin to them.

Dickens' Scrooge learned to "honor Christmas in his heart," and he ultimately found joyous redemption. But he chose to embrace life only after he was confronted with his own death.

Let's choose a different path this season. Choose to let in the light by opening our hearts to the Son, whose birthday it is we celebrate on Christmas Day.

After all, it is only through Him we can truly experience a life of joy and a future filled with hope.

Wishing you the spirit of Christmas, which is peace, the gladness of Christmas, which is hope, and the heart of Christmas, which is love.