‘Tis the time of the year to celebrate occasions. Thanksgiving is just a few days away and Christmas will quickly follow. In my family we add a couple of birthdays in between as well. So much to do in preparation and anticipation, then the day comes and goes and what do we have left? Memories, both good and bad. Scrapbook worthy moments, and unfortunately often moments we wish we could do-over.
Occasions are often seen as times to look back. We remember holidays of the past, what has changed and traditions we still treasure. We remember special times spent with ones we love. These are precious memories to be held in our hearts.
I’m afraid too often – especially on our birthdays (although other occasions as well) we may look back with regret for things we have done, or perhaps opportunities we feel we have missed. It’s easy to look in the rear view mirror of our lives and play the would’ve, should’ve game. And while we can learn from our past, we should never dwell there.
Truly nothing can be gained by dwelling in the past. If we settle in times gone by for too long our focus begins to change. We either long for those good times that are now just memories, or we lose momentum we’ve made in our lives moving forward from times we wish we could go back and change. In Philippians 3:12-14 the apostle Paul gives us a great example to follow.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Throughout the books Paul has written we never see him settle for less than God has for him. While he certainly may have had regrets of how he treated God’s people before he was saved by the grace of Christ’s salvation, once he accepted the forgiveness offered he only looked ahead. We read of Paul stating that he was content in his life, but we never see him stagnant. He continually looked ahead towards the ultimate prize of Heaven…and did all he could to take others along with him.
As the occasions of the next few weeks and months come our way, treasure them. Remember the good of occasions gone by and allow God to take away any regret for those that you wish had been different. Focus on making new memories for yourself and those around you.
Remember we have the opportunity to make every day and every encounter an occasion in itself. When we focus on staying in touch with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work through us we can touch lives and change each moment into an occasion. It may not be one for the history books but may leave an impression that makes a difference to someone else.
There is a wonderful movie called Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (created from a book by Suzanne Weyn) I leave you with my favorite quote and hope you’ll carry it with you:
Blessings and peace to you on this occasion called today.