Comment from Ken: Forgive a sentimental pastor as we walk today.
15So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17Nowwhen they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Done it again! Here it is Tuesday, and I am just now ready to take our walk. What a busy time of year! At long last, two of my projects are completed. One was a cabinet with fifteen drawers; the other was the paneling and staining the woodwork in my new study. On Friday, movers are coming to move the furniture from our garage and home into my new study. It is very exciting when you have been working on a project for a year to finally see it come to fruition.
When I am moved in to the new study, will I be on time for my walks? I wish you had not asked that question for I cannot answer it. I will try, and I hope my communications with others will improve by text and letter. Chris Horvath who puts my walk with you on the Internet will rejoice if I am on time. I am sure of that. He has been so wonderful and patient with me when my walks have not been on time; I owe him a debt of gratitude always.
Last night, Dale was decorating our home for Christmas, and our puppy Molly was making it very difficult. Sometimes she just likes to be mischievous. Molly will grab a cloth Santa, wrestle with a garland, or pull a snowman from its designated space. Finally, last night I told Dale to just put her outside. We have an invisible fence now, and it is wonderful for both Molly and for us. Out goes Molly to run and play, and we have a few moments to accomplish things Molly seems to want to prevent. Out went Molly and a little while later I looked out the window of our dining area; there was Molly looking in the window – like a child outside a toy store. On our back deck there is a woodpile that Dale had stacked. Molly had placed her paws on that woodpile and was gazing in the window. There was Molly a Christmas dog looking in the candlelit window. Our hearts were both so touched, and Molly was brought back into the room. Thankfully, she was much better behaved. Even for Molly, Christmas is exciting.
It seems rather strange to me at this point in my life to be writing about Molly. Molly lives with us; our children are now all on their own. We talked all the time about our children: what they were doing, what school project they were pursuing, and what activity they were involved in at school or at home, etc. Our children are adults with children of their own. So of course, we talk of them, and we love our grandchildren, but Molly gets a lot of attention for she is home with us and brightens our lives.
At First Church in Hopkinton this last Sunday I sat right behind a little boy and his mother and father. When we were to stand for a hymn I leaned over and asked the little boy his name, and then I asked him if he was excited about Christmas. He shook his head in the affirmative, his eyes shown bright, and a huge smile spread across his face. He had the most wonderful face and his hair was cut the way mine was once cut when I was a little boy and had an abundance of hair. He sat pushed close to his mom with his dad on the other side of her. When it was time for him to leave for Sunday school, he was hesitant to leave so his mom got up, took him to his class, and returned. At his age, I would have hated to leave my mom too. When I had a chance, I whispered to his mother how I loved my mom and how special a relationship is between a boy and his mother.
At Christmas time, I cannot help but think back in wonder at the love of my mother. She was Christmas herself. She had to have a huge Christmas tree that would fill one section of our living room. That tree would be put up the day before Christmas and the lights put upon it and then seven children would be sent to bed on Christmas Eve and Santa would decorate the tree. We would see it decorated when we came down from our rooms on Christmas Day. How beautiful and wonderful to see that tree all decorated with presents underneath its branches.
On a late afternoon in December when darkness fell early, I would often be in my bedroom on the third floor of our home building with my erector set or Lincoln logs when I would hear a truck pull up to the front of our house. Looking out the window, the truck would be from Jordan Marsh, Filene’s, or one of the Boston stores. Back that many eons ago, there were not any malls. Looking out that window, you would imagine what was in those packages being delivered for Christmas presents.
We have rather returned to that time with on line shopping. Now children see trucks pull up once again with Christmas packages. It seems less and less is carried home from the malls, and more and more comes by mail and package carriers. That is pretty exciting for young children who imagine what is inside that brown box.
If I close my eyes, I can picture myself before my mother as she helped me put on my cumbersome snowsuit. I can see her tighten the hood around my head, help me put on my warm mittens (for they had been warmed and dried on the radiator in our kitchen) and then, then I remember it now and feel her love as she pressed her hands on the side of my hooded head and bent over and kissed me and said, “ I love you so Kenny.” All this I felt, as I looked upon that young boy beside his mother last Sunday in church.
Aren’t you grateful to your mother for her teachings and her love? Jesus had a wonderful mother. Oh truthfully, He had to struggle to keep His independence as He sought to serve God. His mother wanted Him safe from His enemies. His mother worried about the son she so loved when she heard rumors of evil against Him. And Mary who travelled to Bethlehem pregnant, tired and poor – so poor she gave birth to her son in a stable. Mary with Joseph who taught Him to be a religious man, who raised Him that He might save the world and had to one day stand and watch her loved son die. My mother would have been there for me, and your mother? I believe your mother would have been there for you too. Praise God this Christmas for the gift of His Son, but thank Him, too, for the gift of mothers from whence we came. Praise God.
Prayer: Almighty God, as Christmas approaches, may we be touched with beautiful memories of the past and may we make beautiful memories in the present. Help mothers and fathers, grandparents, and all family members to be thankful to our loving God for the birth and life and even death of our Savior. Thank him for beautiful memories for giving us a pathway in life that leads as it did for Him, beyond death to life everlasting. Lord, one day I think I will look up, and my mother will once more look into my eyes and say the words, “I love you so, Kenny.” O Jesus, my savior, may I be worthy of that love. Amen.
Until our next walk, “May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other; Amen.”