The news broke earlier yesterday of the passing of actor Sidney Poitier at age 94. He was the Academy Award winning actor who starred in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Lilies in the Field, In The Heat of the Night and so many other great films. I’m sure there were other minor celebrity passings already this year, but his death is the first “big” one. Betty White, of course, was the last “big” one of 2021.
I’ve always found it fascinating to go back at the end of each year and look back at those celebrities who have passed away. USA today used to (and may still) put out a special edition that saluted those famous people who passed away the previous year. I know People Magazine and other publications do this as well. There are also many In Memoriam videos that are produced by various outlets that feature those who have passed as well. Those videos are often a highlight at award shows.
The problem with them is that they are always produced before the end of the year. I remember when Dean Martin died on Christmas Day of 1995, he wasn’t in any of those publications or videos. He was often forgotten in the following year’s as well. This will probably be the case with Betty White this year.
I have found that when I go back and look through the list, there are many people I forgot about. Some celebrity passings go by with little or no fanfare and then on the anniversary of their death a year (or sometimes 3-5 years) later, people post it on social media without even realizing that the celebrity has been gone for some time.
Now that we are a week into the new year, I decided to go back and look at some of those we lost in 2021. So many great talents. Many managed to live to a nice old age, while others were gone very young. I’ll give you some of my sources for the lists. If you wish, check them out. Which ones stick out to you? Which ones did you forget passed away? Which ones did you not know passed away?
One of the most comprehensive lists for people in entertainment comes from my friend, and author James Neibaur. His blog can be found here:
Find a Grave is a site that is helpful if you are looking for ancestry stuff. It also has a section for celebrities and a yearly necrology you can check out. It is not as exhaustive as some of the other lists, and it tends to focus on just the “big” names. Here is a link to that:
A source that is extremely exhaustive (almost TOO exhaustive) can be found on Wikipedia. A simple search of “Lists of deaths by year” will bring you to a place where you can look by year, by month, and by day. The only issue I have with this is that the list has just about everybody and anybody from all over the world. While sports figures from Scotland or actors and actresses from Russia are of interest to folks in those countries, they aren’t quite what I am interested in. Here is the link to that page:
One of my favorites every year is produced by Turner Classic Movies – It was produced on December 21st:
It seems like every year I look at those lists and am amazed at the talent that is represented on them. Gone, but not forgotten. How wonderful that we can revisit them often in their books, on television, in movies, by listening to their music, and many other ways.
I get an email each week from Word Press that tells me my weekly “stats” for this blog. I’ve never really been one to really check that out. I write to write. I hope that my followers find what I blog about interesting and entertaining, but in the end, my blog is for me. I write to document memories, share stories for (and about) my kids, occasionally vent, and then there are the blogathons/drafts that I enjoy taking part in.
Recently, one of the blogs I follow posted about her top blogs of the year. I guess I knew that you could see stats for the day, week, and months, but never really thought about the year (or all time, for that matter). So for the heck of it, I decided I would check out the stats to see what my top blogs of the year were. I found them surprising.
Back in 2020, I received an e-mail through my site that said I spelled something wrong in a blog. I thought this was weird, so I investigated. Basically, I found that I was not the only person to receive an e-mail like this. As a matter of fact, some people told me they got the same e-mail almost word for word. It was your basic scam, so I shared a quick blog about it. Believe it or not, it is my most viewed blog of the past year! This is probably because when you Google search the site, my blog link comes up as a result.
Not exactly what I was hoping to see as my “most popular” blog, but if it helps people NOT get scammed, great!
In 2018, one of my first blogs I wrote was a salute to Red Buttons on his birthday. The blog itself is a very short bio and a bunch of his famous “Never Got a Dinner” jokes. I loved when he would show up on the Dean Martin Roasts and I remember how fun it was to go and find these very funny lines. When you look at your stats, it will show you the searches that were performed to get to your site. “Never Got a Dinner” or “Red Buttons Jokes” always shows up there.
If anything, it’s very cool to see that a guy like Red Buttons is still being searched online … and still making people laugh! He deserved a dinner!
I was tickled and ecstatic to see that my blog about my all time favorite holiday special came in as my third most popular blog of the year (and of all time)!
Back in 2019, I took part in the Happy Holidays Blogathon and it was the perfect excuse for me to write about The Year Without a Santa Claus. It was the ONE special I waited for every year. I loved the Miser Brothers. As I got older, I was surprised at how many others loved them, too! It is normal to see people view my holiday themed blogs around Christmas time, but this blog gets hits ALL year long!
Many younger readers will look at the picture above and have no clue what it is.
Back in the days before camera phones and digital photos, a person would buy a roll of film, stick it in their camera, take pictures until the film ran out and then drop it off somewhere (like a photo hut or drug store) to be developed.
Unless you have done it, you will never know the excitement of going back to pick up your photos! Opening the envelope and looking at each photo one by one. You’d never know if the pictures even turned out until you picked them up. Oh, how many times I opened up a picture envelope to find photos out of focus, people with eyes closed, or just plain embarrassing pictures!
Take Pictures. Take A Lot of Them!
This blog kind of came out of nowhere, but it was prompted by a few things. First, my friend Tina began posting a bunch of old pictures on Facebook this week. Another of our classmates passed away recently and he was in some of them. There were many faces I recognized from high school in her photos, many of those people I remain friends with today.
The other thing that prompted this blog was funerals/memorials. Recently I visited a funeral home to pay respects to my friend’s brother who had passed away just before the holidays. In the room were poster boards filled with photos of him from various stages of his life.
A radio friend from Ohio passed away just recently, as well. I was shocked and saddened to see the link to his obituary on his Facebook page. When you go to the funeral home obituary page, there is a 20 minute beautiful video montage of family photos and photos from his radio days. Those pictures told an amazing story of his love for his family, friends, and his work.
People make fun of me for how many photos I take. Many comment on my Facebook posts with “The most photographed girl (or boy) on the internet” when referring to my kids. That’s ok. I love taking pictures for many reasons. First of all, it will help me to remember them as they were babies. In the first year of life, a baby’s features will change almost daily. Sam and I will see pictures of Ella from a year ago and say, “Look at her! She’s changed so much!”
I also try to get lots of pictures of the kids with Sam and I. I want them to look back at them and see how much we love them. I don’t ever want them not to have photos to remember their childhood.
Life changes fast. With life, comes death. I am grateful for photos of me with my grandparents, and great grandparents. I am grateful for the pictures I have with my mom. My oldest son will always remember the love my mom had for him, because of the many photos he has of him and her.
When my dad comes over, I get as many pictures as I can with him and the kids. Some of the best ones are the candid ones. When I look back at some of those candid ones of me as a baby/toddler with my grandparents, they make me smile. I always want them to have those memories.
The ONLY way to “Pause”
In my almost 52 years on this planet, I have realized that life continues day by day nonstop. There is no rewind or fast forward button. As much as we may want it, there is also no “pause” button. However, that is where the magic of pictures comes in.
Each photograph catches a little moment in time to remain forever. Baby smiles. First steps. Silly outfits. First days of school. Christmas morning excitement. Prom pictures. High school or college graduation. Marriage proposals. Wedding vows. The list of “moments” can go on and on. Pictures are important. They show our lives one image and one memory at a time.
One of the coolest projects I have every been a part of was for my friend Kortny. While in school, she was doing something for a journalism class (if memory serves me right). The assignment was to take like 500-700 pictures, and pick only 10 of then to tell a story. I was working in radio, so she came to the studio and took pictures of me prepping my show, doing my show, and working in the production room. She came to a few personal appearances and took pictures at live broadcasts. It was crazy. She just kept snapping away. I am sure I still have the ten pictures she used somewhere, and they really were amazing pictures. They told – the story of a radio DJ.
Most of the photos we take are telling the story of a vacation, or an event, or something of that nature. In the end, though, what they really are is much more. They are moments in your life captured forever. One day, you will look back over them with joy or sadness. In some cases, long after you are gone, people will look back at them and remember YOU.
Pictures are important. Take plenty of them. Post them on your Facebook. Hang them on your wall. Print them and put them in a photo album. Look at them often. Share them with your kids. You will not regret it. I promise.
For Christmas, my dad gave us an Amazon Alexa. I know many people have these and use them for a variety of things. On Christmas Day, I set it up and started to mess around with it.
The first issue I had was not being able to remember my Amazon password! I have the app and the password is saved, because I never end us remembering it. After trying about 35 different passwords, I finally just reset it and continued with the set up.
When you first start the thing, she starts telling you what to do. “Ask me to tell you a joke.” “I can help you get to work on time. Ask me about traffic.” “Ask me how long to cook a turkey.” “Ask me what the weather is like.” She just kept cranking out the commands!
Eventually, after messing with it a while, I got to where I kind of knew how to use it. I started asking Alexa questions about everything. Then, I started to ask her to play songs for Ella.
“Alexa. Play Baby Shark.” Boom! There it is. “Alexa. Play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Ta Da! It’s there. “Alexa. Play the theme song for Paw Patrol.” Instantly it is there. I think to myself, how nice this is. Now, almost two weeks later….. I am OVER asking Alexa for songs!
Ella loves it. If Alexa were to make a playlist based off what we’ve asked her to play, I could take it to a preschool class and PARTY!! Here requests include:
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
The Alphabet Song
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Johnny, Johnny No Papa
Three Little Kittens
Five Little Speckled Frogs
There Were 10 in the Bed
Happy Birthday to You
I am sure there are more, but those are the ones that stick in my head. We can be sitting on the floor or on the couch reading books or watching TV and she’ll just look at me and say, “Row Row Row Your Boat?!” (or any of the other above songs).
“Alexa. Play Baby Shark …..again!” “Alexa! Play Twinkle Twinkle!” “ALEXA! Play the Itsy Bitsy Spider!!!!!”
When the song is over, Ella always looks at me and says, “Again? Again?! Please, Daddy, Again!”
I have a feeling, I will be hearing those songs in my sleep for a very long time!
Please help me when Alexa finally is able to understand her, because she will be playing toddler songs non-stop!!
Today is National Spaghetti Day here in the United States. I didn’t know that until a friend of mine posted it on Facebook earlier today. I also didn’t know it was National Trivia Day in the United States. The same friend posted that, too. So before I tell my story … how about a tidbit of spaghetti trivia?
Did you know that the word spaghetti is plural for the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning “thin string” or “twine?” You do now!
It is probably a total coincidence that I had a dream about spaghetti last night. Usually when I have a dream that I am trying to figure out, I wake up and email myself what I remember. Nine times out of ten, it is a bunch of misspelled words that I have to wonder just what I was trying to type.
So my dream, I admit, doesn’t make much sense at all. Although it was almost like there should have been a message in it or something. So, here is (to my best recollection) the dream:
There is a mixture of humans and cartoon characters in it. I don’t really understand it, but that is like most dreams I suppose. The family from Bluey is in it (probably because my daughter and I were watching it before bed).
At first I think I am at some sort of spaghetti dinner, like a fund raiser or something. Then I realize that this event is some sort of celebration or ceremony. It has something to do with the children – and the number of meatballs on the child’s plate. It was sort of like a karate/kung fu belt ceremony.
Each child walks through the line with a plate of spaghetti and when the reach the appropriate server, he plops a certain number of meatballs on the plate and explains what it means. No meatballs meant they were newcomers, one meatball was a novice, two meatballs meant they were intermediate, three meatballs signified above average, and four meatballs was a pro/master.
Anyone who got four meatballs got a huge round of applause from the crowd. It was almost like some sort of Jewish Bar Mitzvah or something, “Congratulations! Four meatballs! You are now a man!” I stood there puzzled by the whole thing and then I realized that I am in line, holding a plate of spaghetti. The server drops three meatballs on my plate and tells me to move on.
I am stumped. I am confused. Why do I not have four? What exactly are you a pro at if you DO get four meatballs? I don’t even know!
I walk away staring at these three meatballs and Bluey’s dad, Bandit, comes up to me and says, “Only three, huh? That’s they way it goes sometimes, Mate.”
Then I wake up.
Weird. Weird. Weird.
Oh, and the guy dishing out the meatballs? Frank Sinatra!
Last night we were all in bed by 10 O’clock. AJ started stirring about 4am. I walked to his bassinet, picked him up and brought him back to bed with me.
I just held him in my arms and looked at him. I began to reflect and then I began to pray. I don’t post this here for any reason other than for it to be a reminder to myself of the things that I discussed with God today.
Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus,
Thank you for a new day and a new year. I realize that time and dates are much different to us than they are to You. As the world begins to celebrate new beginnings, I come to You in thanksgiving.
Thank You for this wonderful miracle I hold in my arms. I am humbled that You have allowed me to be a father again. I hope that I will not fail in raising AJ to know You. I ask that You please help me to always be patient and understanding with him.
Thank You for my daughter, Ella. I thought I knew joy before she came along, and I did, but never to the extent that I do because of her. Thank You for blessing me with her. She’s my only girl, Lord, so I will do my best to raise her right. One of my favorite things to do with her is pray to You before bed. Isn’t her “Amen” cute? I pray that we will raise her to love You and be a Godly woman.
Thank You for my wife, Sam. She has helped me in more ways than I can count. She is a voice of reason, keeps me focused and balanced. She is lovingly unselfish. She is forever doing for others. She is such a wonderful mother to the kids. She truly loves me and I am so in love with her.
Thank You for my son’s Dante’ and Dimitri. Dante’ continues to grow into a compassionate and caring young man. He is always doing for others. Dimitri struggles, Lord. He needs You. Life has been rough for him. I pray that You help guide him. Help me to help him. He just needs the right direction.
Thank You for my family and friends. You know their various struggles and needs. Some are grieving the loss of loved ones, some are struggling financially, some are emotional struggling, some are suffering with health issues, and some are just lost and wondering what to do next. I pray that You give them what they need, whether it is strength, comfort, peace, or simply love.
Lord, this year, I pray for good health. I pray that You help me in my journey to get healthier. I pray that this pandemic gets under control and that life returns to some sort of normalcy. I pray for move love and less hate – less strife and more kindness.
I pray that people will come to know You. I pray that more people would read your Word. I pray that they believe the Gospel. I pray that they get saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
The world needs You more than ever this year, Lord. I pray that 2022 is much better than 2021….
At midnight tonight, we’ll start a brand new year – 2022. Some have compared a new year to a book. The book with 365 blank pages – one for each day – and said that the book is ours to write. There is truth to that.
As I looked back over my “book” entitled “2021,” I see that (despite the pandemic and all the crap that came with it) I really did have a good year. Bear with me, he’s the recap:
January started with some snow. It actually looks like we should be getting snow again this week. Ella absolutely loved being outside in the snow. It was fun to watch her try to figure out just what all the white stuff was. Today, when she sees it, she get’s excited and yells, “Snow! Snow!”
In mid-January, we scratched our heads and wondered just how Ella was 11 months old! I mean, it seemed like she was just born!
The pressure was on as we closed in on her first birthday. With Covid, we weren’t quite sure if we’d even be able to have a party for her.
As we got closer to Ella’s birthday, Sam was just not feeling right. 3 days before Ella’s birthday, we found out that baby #2 was on the way!
This took us both completely by surprise! There was great excitement all over again. The hardest part was keeping it a secret…
Ella’s first birthday was a fun and busy day. We ditched the pink blocks and marked the birthday with a HUGE number “1” balloon. This was followed by a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium, the Build a Bear place, and cake at Nana’s house.
We were glad to be able to get some professional “1st Birthday” pictures, too!
In March we got our first look at the baby we now know as Andrew/AJ and announced Ella’s promotion to big sister.
Ella also got her first haircut
March also consisted of many walks around the neighborhood and stops at the park.
Big brother, Dante’ turned 19 this month! Before that, Easter fell on my mom’s birthday. We got Ella all dressed up in her Easter dress, stopped at the cemetery to visit grandma on her birthday and then went to Nana’s for an Easter Egg hunt!
Ella is so very blessed to have wonderful people in her life. Aunt Margaret is one of them! (She will kill me for posting this picture, but I just love this!!) She and cousin Marissa came to visit and the highlight was watching them read books together.
We also found out the baby’s gender, but that wouldn’t be revealed until May.
Birthday’s have never really bothered me, mostly because I opt for the Jack Benny attitude and say that I am stuck at 39. However, in reality I turned 51. 30 was big. 40 was tough. 50 a bit hard to swallow. Over 50? Well…..I examine my own mortality every day.
The month started warm enough that Ella got to spend lots of time in her sandbox and pool.
We revealed that Ella was having a baby brother and got another look at him on an ultrasound.
Ella and I worked on a special project for Sam for Mother’s Day and we got to visit the Detroit Zoo.
May also brought Ella her first taste of corn on the cob!
My second oldest boy celebrated his 14th birthday in June. We got to spend Father’s Day together by visiting Crossroads Village. They had a Classic Car Show there and we walked the village and rode the train. It was such a great day with my kids!
It was SO hot that day!!! By the end of it all, Ella was physically exhausted. June was a hot month and we did get to get out and enjoy walks in the park and a day at the splash pad.
By July, Sam was 5 months pregnant and was so sick. The pregnancy was a rough one on her. The heat didn’t help things. Despite that, the middle of summer was packed full of amazing things and our family had loads of fun.
We celebrated America’s Birthday, Ella had her first visit to the public library and bowled for the first time, and we all visited the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.
As Summer drew to a close, we continued to squeeze as much into it as we could. I got to spend a perfect day doing a daddy daughter picnic, my name was finally on the board at the Corner Cone for a free ice cream, Ella spent lots of time drawing with crayons, and our stress levels were through the roof as we took Ella in for her ear tube surgery. We also got another peak at AJ and had a visit from my brother.
Fall! My favorite season of all. I was glad to be able to get together with Margaret, Walt and my buddy Chris at Margaret’s house. Since she’s already mad at the one picture I posted, I’ll just share the one she told me I could share. Hopefully, that makes things a little better….
We always love going to get pumpkins and decorating the front of the house for fall. Ella seemed to like it, too.
Ella and I also got to take one last trip to the Saginaw Zoo before it closed for the season. It was a great day for us, and Sam actually got to relax a bit.
We had been told more than once that there was a possibility that the baby would come before his due date. He held out almost until the date! Just two days before he was born, Ella and I got to go outside and enjoy the fall colors.
On October 11th, AJ entered the world. I watched in awe as my son was born and all the pride of being a daddy again filled my soul. We weren’t sure how Ella would handle it, but she welcomed him with open arms.
They still did not have a photographer at the hospital, so we went to JC Penney to have some newborn pictures taken. AJ looks spiffy in his outfit!
While this wasn’t Ella’s first Halloween, it was the first real Trick or Treating adventure for her. She was happy that big brother was there to walk with her. AJ was obviously way too young to attempt to go out this year.
Fall walks are among my favorites. I love looking at the colors. Ella and I took many fall walks and there were many instances where she’d just play in a pile of leaves! AJ kept us all busy and so it was just Ella and I making the trip to Bronner’s to get his ornament for the Christmas tree. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at home and got the house ready for Christmas.
The final month of the year brought many happy memories. Professional Christmas pictures, my annual reading of Dickens, AJ turned 2 months old, a visit from Papa and Grandma, Christmas Eve with my boys, Holiday lights at Crossroads, our first Christmas as a family of four, and the anticipation of a brand new year.
Blog highlights included my entries to the 2021 Song Draft, salutes to Soupy Sales, my grandpa, and Ernie Harwell, a guest blog from my pal Max, silly blogs about hats and Bernie Sanders’ mittens, fishing memories, my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and a blog about an amazing cartoon Dog Dad.
There were many sad moments in 2021. I lost classmates and friends to cancer, heart disease, and of course, Covid. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that life is precious and another day is not promised. You never know when it will be the “last picture,” the “last phone call,” or the “last visit.” It takes me make to that quote that my band director wrote on the grease board my senior year. I have quoted it many times. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.”
Life is too short. Live. Laugh. Love.
As we welcome 2022, I pray that it is a good year for all of us. May we find it full of happiness and good health. May God bless you and yours in the upcoming year.
Get ready. The Book of 2022 awaits. Grab your pen and turn to page (January) 1.
When my oldest son was growing up, he called the vacuum a “latchoom.” Both of my oldest sons called pizza “Pee-cuh.” Naturally, as they got older, they began to call those (and other) things by the correct word. When that happened, it always left me sad. That same thing happened today.
Every since she started eating blueberries, Ella has called them “bloobies.” I just LOVE that! When we would bring her breakfast to the table, she’d tell us what everything was on her plate.
Cockeese (Cottage cheese)
It was amazing when she started saying those words and knowing what they were.
When I woke up for work today, Sam said, “Guess who is saying ‘blueberries’ now?” She looked at Ella and said, “Tell daddy what you had for breakfast today?”
“Blue Berries,” she said. There it was. Clear as day. Ok, it may have been more like “Blue Bear-wees,” but it was definitely NOT “bloobies” anymore.
Sigh. My little girl is growing up so fast.
You know, I kinda like the word “bloobies.” I may just have to always call them that from now on ….
My wife and I have been anxiously waiting to be able to go out on a date. Our kids keep us pretty busy and they are always in tow. With Sam returning to work from maternity leave after the first of the year, we were running out of available days. We lined up Nana and Papa to watch the kids for the afternoon, and Monday, we finally got to spend some much needed “couple time.”
Did we go out to a fancy restaurant? No. Did we go to a movie? No. Did we go to a concert? No. But we got time together – and THAT was all that mattered.
We had decided that we were going to do lunch. We decided to go to this little sub place that we like. I asked if she wanted to go inside to eat. Neither one of us were real comfortable doing that. We thought about it, but we decided to just grab and go (The tables are too close together and other people would have their masks off to eat, etc…).
We were going to go to Barnes and Noble to look around after lunch, so we got our food and ate lunch in their parking lot. LOL – Romantic, right?! It was nice to just sit and talk as we ate. There were no kids crying or screaming from the back seat – it was just us. In all actuality, it was weird to not have them with us!
After lunch, we walked into Barnes and Noble and began to look around. We picked a great day to go as all the hardcovers were 50% off! I had two or three books that I have been wanting to get, so I looked for them. Naturally, they didn’t have them in the store. Same looked around and found some new books by some of her favorite authors, but decided against getting them.
She’s like me in that often times as you read a series (Stephanie Plum, Ben Kincaid, etc…) you feel like you’ve read the same story before. Sometimes, the next book in a series spends half of the book recapping the previous books so you know what is going on. Then, sometimes, even though it is not a series, books by the same author can just “feel” like the same thing over again. So she put back the books that she looked at.
So what did we do? We both went over the the kid section and started looking for books for the kids!! Here we are on a date, thinking that we’re going to get ourselves something, and we wind up getting stuff for the kids. As we walked out, we were like, “I can’t wait to read this to Ella! She is going to love this one!”
Afterward, we were off to our next exciting stop on “Date Day”….
Target! Really? Yes, really.
While I was out grocery shopping, Sam had me pick up a package of baby bottles. I sent her a picture of the ones that they had and we thought they were the ones that we currently use. Technically, they were, however the ones I bought had the wrong nipples on them. Sam looked to see if she could get the right ones on Amazon and she couldn’t. She said they had them at Target, so we made a stop there.
We walked over to the baby stuff and they didn’t have the right size nipples for the bottles. Go figure. We took advantage of being there and walked around. Sam had hoped to run up to the Carter’s store in Birch Run to get AJ some pants later that day, but she found some while we were at Target. Store number 2 and we get stuff for the kids again!
We debated going to the Christmas Tree Store, which we love, just to look around. Sam said we’d spent enough money and said if we went there, we’d put our account in the red (LOL!). Knowing that it was getting close to nap time for Ella, we decided to go back to Nana’s to get the kids.
It was nice to have some quality time with my wife. One thing I never tire of, is driving and holding her hand in mine. It was a little extra special on Monday. Next date night, I will need to do something a whole lot more elaborate! She deserves it!
I hope that it is ok to post this. I would think that it is, as many others shared this on Facebook after he re-posted this. A pastor friend of mine, Richard Jordan, re-shared a blog that he wrote over 10 years ago. I shared it on Facebook, and my buddy Max commented on my Christmas recap blog wondering if I get depressed on December 26th. This blog from Pastor Jordan hit home and certainly helped me shift my focus … Here is his Facebook post:
FB posted an old blog post on my private feed this morning. Since it posted on this date in 2009, I thought I’d put it here as a reminder to us all.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Day After Christmas
Christmas night often finds folks in a bit of a melancholy mood. After weeks of anticipation, the celebrations have flashed by and are suddenly gone, fading into the night.
This is natural, understandable and probably the best teaching moment of the whole season. As long as the beautifully wrapped gifts remain unopened and the celebrations still future, they appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when all are opened and the merriment past, we sense we are still longing for something more, something lasting.
Ihad one of those teachable moments with my granddaughter, Hanna, yesterday. After opening gifts and eating a good meal, she was sitting on the stair in a rather pensive mood. I sat next to her to talk about what she was feeling. I’ve learned that children don’t know what is happening to their emotions or why, so I generally don’t ask the “Why?” question but rather explain the “What” to them.
I pointed out to Hanna that she was learning lessons many grown-ups haven’t yet grasp:
1. Gifts and events can’t fill you soul. They are expressions of generosity but are not designed to satisfy. They’re designed to point us to the Giver.
2. Putting our hopes in gifts will leave us empty inside. We will ask, “Is that all?” because we know deep down that’s not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not things.
3. It is more blessed to give than receive. What makes you feel richer, getting the presents you wanted or making someone else happy with something you gave to them? A greedy heart lives in a small, lonely world. A generous heart lives in a wide world of love.
I hope she remembers some of grandpa’s sagged advice! I learned it from someone; I pass it along in hopes it helps others as much as it helps me.
It is just the way of God’s grace to let the glitter and flash of celebrations (even in His honor) pass and then even in the melancholic void they leave teach us once again, “It’s not I, but Christ.”