Monday, January 07, 2008

"Words for Living" part 2 (published Dec. 19 in "The Community Voice.")

Remember when you were a child and wanted stuff for Christmas? A pair of shoes, an orange, and some aunt’s knitted scarf made for a perfect Christmas. Maybe it was a radio, a hula-hoop, or a new SUV. Today its iPod, Wii, and anything else that is cool, tiny, or expensive.

Seriously, how many of those toys do you actually remember? One toy I remember was one I did not ask for, or want. After opening my presents, dad suggested I search the house for “the big one.” I started where any sensible child would start, the attic. I found lots of dust, which went well with all the lumps of coal I had already opened that year.

Eventually I found “it.” Stuffed in the corner of the crypt my parents called a cellar I found “it.” I’d found lots of interesting things in that cellar. Most of them were only mildly dangerous, but this one was on a different level. It was a sled. You know the kind made of a couple pieces of wood bolted to metal runners. I took an instant dislike to it and began to really hate it when dad said, “go outside and play.”

Exiled to the cold and wet outdoors, I unsuccessfully attempted to slide a couple of times. My bad attitude made me want to quit before that special moment. You know the magical moment when something turns from icky to interesting. A bit like when you discover girls really don’t have cooties or veggies taste good. Ok, maybe not that last one.

What a glorious moment. I flew down the hill and ploughed right into a massive snow drift. It was like the commercial that says “priceless.” I experienced love and loss the instant I hit the tree just beyond the snow drift. I was in love with sledding but knew it would be some time before I could ride it again. I remember that sled and all the adventures we went on. It got to the point were my dad started hiding the sled, probably after I learned I could wax the runners for greater speed. Dad tried to get me on safer things like the round metal disk, the fake plastic toboggan, and the bizarre ski tricycle. My parents were so desperate to keep me safe; they signed me up for violin lessons.

I know a dad once who didn’t protect his son. In fact the dad’s actions got the son killed. In all fairness, the dad didn’t have a choice and was desperate. The dad and the son loved someone else more than their own lives. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God the Father gave the life of Jesus (God the Son) so we could have eternal life. How’s that for a Christmas present?

Trade your lump of coal for the love of God?

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