I tried to coerce the older kids to have their picture taken with Santa, but they decided to
wreak havoc skip out and walk the mall with friends. So Matthew and I were left alone, in a fairly short line, and he decided he didn’t want to see Santa alone. The vision of me squatting at the knee of Santa one year while holding Matthew in my arms pops into my head. I wasn’t dressed for the occasion, and I hate that picture! This can’t be happening again! So I did what every good mom would do. I begged and pleaded, gave him my sad face, and it worked. He marched right up there and sat down on Santa’s lap, and proceeded to tell him what is on his wish list. And a few other things that he hadn’t told me yet.
Now I love this Santa. He is the same man that Brooke sat on 14 years ago when she was a baby. It was the same man 2 years later when Zach was a baby. We have history. We go way back. I will cry if he retires before Matthew…ya know…finds out….
We won’t go there, not yet. He knows that we celebrate Christmas for Jesus birthday and not for Santa, but it’s just one of those magical things that I’m not ready to give up on yet.
Grandpa’s Christmas Wish
Lyrics by Geer, Will – Grandpa Walton
Grandpa’s Christmas Message
What is Christmas? It is a time when some of your dreams come true. Every year it rolls around and takes you by surprise some of the time, especially when you’re as close to a 100 years old as I am. You think…it Can’t be time for another one, but there it is with all it’s hope and joy and the promise of the wishes granted. I bet you wonder what I wish for. What could an old man wish for? Maybe you think I would wish to be young again. I don’t want that. Being young is a painful thing. Being young and in love to boot, which most young people are, is even more agony. I’ll tell you what I wish. I’d wish for the power to return some of the love that’s been given me. I’d wish the time and place for all that giving could be commemorated like the heart I carved on the tree around your Grandmother’s and my initials. I wish too for more days to my life. Time…time to give to children some of the beauty of this Earth that has been revealed to me. A drop of water is a wondrous thing.
A spade full of earth is a kingdom in itself. A cloud is worth watching as it passes from one horizon to another. A bird building its nest is as wondrous as men building the Pyramid, and any green thing that grows is proof that God exists. It all comes into focus at Christmas. It is a tender time. We grow cautious because we open ourselves to love. We exchange gifts, but what those presents really say is “I love you.” It makes some folks uncomfortable to say or hear these words. Maybe it’s because they’ve never learned the secret of the given heart. There are more takers than givers in the world. People, communities even countries spending their time grubbing and rooting for the goods of this earth like pigs after acorns in the Fall of the year. This is a country with a giving heart and I pray it will always be so. It’s a good country and it’s part of our strength, something that we brought with us as pioneers that we can share with the fellow who is down on his luck, with those who suffered calamities: with the loss of their homes or land or their hope. This is a family with a giving heart. You children may squabble and bicker among yourselves but you’ve been taught to love and to give, and that’s the greatest present your Momma and Daddy could have given you. So take pleasure in the trappings of Christmas. Be merry like the songs say. Revel in the tinsel and the glitter and the sparkle and sing the old songs for all the joy that’s in them and the memories they bring back. But to touch the real Christmas, to feel the true spirit of the season, look to your own heart and find all the secret treasures that they’re there to give. There is one wish that I make every year. I never said it aloud before, but I’ll tell it to you now. I wish for all the seasons I have known, endlessly to come and go; the dogwood Spring, the watermelon Summer, the russet and gold of Autumn. I wish for Christmas to come again and for each of us to be here again next year at this time…together, safe, warm and loved as we are at this moment.
— Blue Ridge Publications
The following is a communion meditation written by my dad, for the Christmas Eve service at his church tonight. I got the chance to read it on Saturday and it gave me goosebumps. I just had to share it.
THE SCENE IS A SPARSE HILL IN ANCIENT JUDEA, NOT FAR FORM JERUSALEM. NEARBY IS A CAVE. JESUS WEARS ONE MEAGER GARMENT. MARY IS WATCHING, WONDERING WHAT IT ALL MEANS. A MAN IS STANDING BESIDE HER, NOT THE FATHER OF JESUS, BUT THE ONE WHO WILL CARE FOR HER. BENEATH JESUS ARE BEAMS OF ROUGH WOOD. ABOVE, THE HEAVENS SPARKLE WITH SUPERNATURAL SPLENDOR. IN THE CITY SITS HEROD PONDERING JESUS DEATH. JEWISH LEADERS DISCUSS HIS COMING. NEARBY ARE OUTCASTS, GIVING THEIR OWN CRUDE TESTIMONY. SOON RICH MEN ARRIVE WITH GIFTS JUST AS SUITED FOR A BURIAL AS A BIRTH. ARE WE REMEMBERING A BIRTH OR A DEATH? A MANGER OR A CROSS. THE HILL COULD BE A SHEEP STUDDED HILL NEAR BETHLEHEM, OR IT COULD BE THE HILL CALLED GOLGATHA. THE CAVE COULD BE A STABLE CRUDELY CUT INTO ONE OF BETHLEHEMS HILLS, OR IT COULD BE A BURIAL VAULT RECENTLY CARVED IN A NEARBY CEMETARY. THE MEAGER GARMENT COULD BE SWADDLING CLOTHES OR A BLOODY, RAGGED LOINCLOTH. IT IS JESUS OF COURSE, BUT IS HE A NEWBORN BABY OR A DYING MAN? IT IS MARY, BUT IS SHE SITTING AT A CRADLE COMFORTING HER BABY OR CROUCHING, CRYING, HERSELF IN NEED OF COMFORT? IS THE MAN JOSEPH THE CARPENTER, OR JOHN, WHO WILL MAKE HER A HOME? ARE THE ROUGH WOODEN BEAMS BENEATH JESUS A MANGER OR A CROSS? ARE THEY SEEING THE HEAVENS SPARKLE, OR AN ECLIPSED SUN AND A BLOOD RED MOON? THE HEROD COULD BE THE GREAT WHO TRIED TO KILL THE BABY, OR HIS SON WHO IN A SENSE SUCCEEDED. THE OUTCASTS COULD BE SHEPHERDS, KNEELING AT THE MANGER, OR THIEVES HANGING ON EITHER SIDE OF JESUS. THE RICH MEN COULD BE MAGI WHO OFFER EXPENSIVE GIFTS, OR NICODEMUS AND JOSEPH WHO OFFER ONLY AN EMPTY TOMB. IT’S AS THOUGH THERE WAS A MIRROR IN THE MANGER, A BIRTH REFLECTING A DEATH. WE COME TONIGHT TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR, WE COME TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF JESUS, BUT WE COME TO THIS TIME OF COMMUNION TO REMEMBER THE SACRIFICE THAT HE MADE WHEN HE WENT TO THE CROSS AND WILLINGLY GAVE HIS LIFE, THAT YOU AND I, AND ALL MANKIND COULD BE FORGIVEN AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY OF ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS WHO WAS BORN TO DIE FOR OUR SINS.
One more example of bad perfectionism.
I was asked to make 90 invitations to a Christmas open house where my daughter dances. When asked, I was buttered up with, “I looked at some stores, but thought you could do something nice and crafty.” OK, no pressure. For literally 2 days I worked on those things. It took me awhile, (techie challenged), to copy and paste the text onto a page, and figure out what size, what graphics, etc. Then I couldn’t print them out on plain paper, so I copied/scanned some Christmas paper that I had laying around. Then I needed to print those off first. I ran out of colored ink very quickly. At one point I said something like “it would have been easier to just go to my friendly UPS store and have them do this for me”, but I didn’t listen. I finally got them printed, and this was the same day as the crash, so I was stressed anyway. Once printed, I needed to EMBELLISH. Don’t you just love that word? I thought I did better this year, because I didn’t put much emphasis on every invite being different from the others. I had 5 or 6 different scanned papers, and a big Christmas tree die cut on each one. I alternated, and half of them had the tree on the front, and the other half had the tree on the inside. The ones with the trees on the inside had stickers or something on the outside. Did I say I worked on these mostly all day? Then I went to get some more printer ink, stickers, glitter glue, rubber stamps…… and came home, put the kids in bed at 9:00, and sat back down to finish. I did that at 4:46 AM. Wow, I was tired when I got up at 6:30, after hitting the snooze button 3 times! I had laid them out for the glue to dry, and decided that the ones without a tree on the front looked too plain. So 4 hours later, I had them finished again, with even more glitter glue. Why do I do this to myself? A simple project turned into a nightmare! But they were reeeaaallllyyyy CUTE!