Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Letter #2

Sometimes you just need to write another Christmas Letter.

I've been protected all my life.  Protected from abuse and anxiety and ugliness.

I think that's just being lucky.

I have friends who have not been so lucky and it's a bit difficult to get a grip on how God passes that around.

Christmas is more than lights and jingle and joy.  It, for me, is a time to think about stuff, reflect, A time to remember and plan for the future magic that the season can bring.  A time to believe that there is an Almighty God who gives a rip.

But, keeping spirits high in the midst of pain and anxiety?  I know too many people who are struggling. Struggling with children, struggling with memories, with health, tragic loss of friends, with finances and relationships.  These people are good and loving people.  Where does Christmas come in with them?  How can I jingle, jingle, jingle when there's so much pain? How can I spout my belief in the promise of Baby Jesus when I see so much that brings me to disbelief?

My teacher friend always asks me to help with her children's Christmas program.  I practice with them a few times and then we perform.  They always do more for me than I for them.  Their sweet faces and grand efforts at doing what I ask to make their performance great always touches me.

It's somewhere between living life daily and the magic that comes with moments with children that the light comes on.  Moments with children.  Here we go again,,,that does it for me.

It's the kids.  We do it for the kids.  And. when we do it for the kids, we do it for ourselves.  So, get around some kids and make some magic for them.  Music, gifts, kindness.  Make some joy.  You will find yourself full.  Full of joy and full of gratitude that life has promise and you can be a part of making that happen.

We are the modern Magi.  We are the ones who bring the gifts to the Christ Child.  And the Christ Child is everywhere;  the homeless, the helpless, the needy, the challenged, the grieving and the protected.  Even the protected need the Christ Child for without the promise of something better, where would we be?

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Christmas Letter

This is my Christmas letter.  Today I sold a nativity set at the shop.  She also bought a Santa.  Sweet woman.  She shopped carefully for a Santa that was smiling.

 We have no idea how our actions affect the ones around us.  This shopper made an impact on me.  I carefully wrapped each piece of the nativity making sure not to break the fine fingers of the porcelain figures, and gently placed baby Jesus on the very top.  We both agreed that was where He belonged.  And then she left with her bag.  Almost gone, she turned around and said, "I would like that Santa.  He's smiling."  Once again, I wrapped her purchase carefully and she tucked him in her nativity bag.
That's it for me.  Carefully selected, carefully wrapped and tucked in with a smiling Santa.  It just does it for me.  Get God first, make sure He's protected in your heart and then gather whimsy and joy and make merry.

Dad would go out in the pasture and chop down a small cedar, bring it in the house and we'd call it Christmas.  How simple life once was.  A little ole pasture tree, some home strung popcorn and a few songs on the piano.  But, just like the bag that walked out of the shop today, along with it was Baby Jesus and a smiling Santa.

I need to remind myself daily, hourly, moment by moment, that life is as good and as simple as I choose to make it.  Reflecting on my blessings I almost burst.  Looking at my dreams, I almost explode, and believing that I can tuck it all away in a small red bag with a smiling Santa nestled in with the Almighty God Himself just makes me melt in a puddle of Christmas joy.

I have friends in great need, struggling to make sense of burdens put upon them, I myself am struggling with major decisions, the stuff of life has piled high in places I would never have believed, but as I go through this next phase of the life I have been given, I will remind my self that I can make it simple for myself and those I love.  Joy comes when I least expect it, with the Almighty God always with me, a smile and a simple pasture tree.  Christmas is in the knowing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving is my holiday.  It was Thanksgiving when my dying mother sat up and had dinner with the family while we all cautiously put utensil to mouth in disbelief that she sat at the table and acted normal.   It was Thanksgiving when my brothers and I brought out families to the farm and wallowed in the comfort that it was there and we were who we are.  It was Thanksgiving when we hunted pheasants in the draws and loaded our shotguns with self made bullets.  It was Thanksgiving when we loaded our families onto a wagon, babies, mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmother, while my dad did his best with the tractor of, "over the river and through the woods...."   It was Thanksgiving when all the cousins sat around a galvanized tub and decobbed the corn for hours with conversation and pleasure.  It was Thanksgiving when my father borrowed animals from his farmer friend to make sure his "city" grand kids had the farm experience.  It was Thanksgiving when we accepted, in our own way, that there would be no more magical Thanksgivings of a family intact.  It was Thanksgiving when our mother died.  Almost, give a few days.  It was Thanksgiving when we knew how unbelievably blessed we were to have lived the lives we lived.

I'm getting in my truck and driving to my daughter's home because it's Thanksgiving.  I have memories to share and memories to make.  It's me now.  I'm the grandpa with the tractor albeit a grandma in a truck, but I'm the magic maker and I will do my part.

Thanksgiving.  Thank God for a day when we can reflect, remember and do our part.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vessle of Hope

How I ended up on a bus in the desert with people from all over the world following their dreams is another story, but there I was, reluctant and unknowing.  They just kept coming, And then it was full. Full of stories and determination albiet their canes and grays.  It was tagged, The Desert Trip, and I would never have gone were it not for a dear friend who led me along the path.  And then, as will happen to plans, her family needed her more than the desert, and she flew away leaving me to experience my own trip.

I cried as one after another boarded the bus. They came from all parts of the world.  They came for this experience.  Six great artists who gave us our own history converged on the desert for us to remember, believe in the impossible and breath our future. We all felt the energy of decades, the mistakes, the challenges, the pain and joy. And no one left without newly restored faith in the struggle.  It was all in a weekend capsule and decorated with dust, warm wind, the whiff of marijuana, a full moon and sound, beautiful, warm God given sound.

I heard some young radio announcers making fun of us after we'd all gone home.  They were making fun of us..."Oldchella" they called this experience because the artists were all in their 60's and thus so were many of us.  But it wasn't like that.  It wasn't a bunch of old people.  It was 150,000 young, and old dreamers and believers.  Some struggled to get there, but they were there.  Some had a bit too much joy prep and shouted a bit too loud or danced a bit wild, but they were there.  They've lived lives of pauper or power, but they were there.  It wasn't a gathering of old people.  It was a gathering of believers.  Believers that no matter where your journey has taken you, music can gather your soul in a vessle and give it hope.