December 4, 2016 - Rev. Dr. John Regan

Exodus 20:17

In the season of Advent, I often think of my father. Each year my dad would create a new “Regan” Christmas card. He would do the design work, create the silk screen, select the colors, and screen the new cards. My role was limited. I would take the wet new cards and find flat places in the garage so they could dry. Looking back I now realize he used this activity as a way to spend time with me. He would often ask me what I was looking forward to this Christmas and since it was Christmas I would often mention presents.

One Christmas card printing session I remember gushing on and on to my dad after having spent time at a friend’s house who in my young mind had everything. His family had a pool, a tennis court, a basketball goal, and a tetherball pole. I couldn’t stop talking about my friend’s backyard, imagining it to be as wonderful as Disneyland. In the garage that Advent I remember lamenting to my father about my friend’s back yard and how none of that stuff would even fit in our backyard. On Christmas Day I got quite a surprise. My father had dug a big hole and cemented a brand new tetherball pole in our backyard. Once school resumed after the holidays I invited some friends over to my backyard. After about 3 games we all decided that tetherball was quite predictable and boring. I totally and utterly abandoned it. For years when I would go in the backyard and see that tether-ball pole, I felt awkward. It was the abandoned gift that wouldn’t go away. One summer I noticed it was gone. I never had a conversation about the disappeared tetherball with my dad while he was living, but I wonder now.

Throughout my life, I have consistently wanted to have the things that other people have. I think it is a natural state of being human. But now that I am older I am a little bit better about asking the question “why is this THING” so important to me now? I realize now that the garage was full of gifts. My father’s creativity, time, patient teaching, and the greatest – the gift of making memories with me.

Creator God, in a world of wants, help us to see the beautiful gifts right in front of us. Amen.

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