Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays

Christmas is a wonderful time.

In Memory of Rhoda

In Memory of Rhoda

It is a time of blessed memories, all the way back to the slate hills of Hamilton Township in Franklin County, Pennsylvania and the years in between.  There were no decorations at our house, and scarcely any gifts, for I grew up in The Depression. But I remember snow covered trees, and a front lawn covered with crystal white snow and 16 male cardinals eating the sunflower seeeds provided for them by my mother.

I don’t remember any special lights, but the snow gave everything color.  I don’t remember many gifts, but I do remember Aunt Lizzie who gave me a rubber doll baby every year, which I played with it between Christmases till it was worn out.  I enjoyed receiving that gift, till I just got too old for it and that year I cried because it was just another doll baby.  The next few years she gave me a marine band harmonica which I also wore out between Christmases.  So she gave me a new one.  So I now have a mouth organ, an expensive one, given me by Rhoda’s sister, Elva, and I play it several times a year.  It makes beautiful music.  (Don’t ask me to play it.)

This year Eldon and Rachel gave me a black shirt with a brilliant red tie.  Eldon told me that if I am to win and hold someone special I must be a bit more spiffy.  What ever does he mean by  that?  He got ear rings for his wife and I asked him how he knows what kind of ear rings she likes. He said, I’ve lived with her for forty years!  Rhoda refused to wear ear rings, so I have absolutely no experience buying ear rings.

The one who got the first gift this morning was Crystal.  She got a new bone.  She knows a little English.  She knows how to communicate “please” and “now” but I don’t think she knows how to say “thanks” except to begin chewing immediately.  No, she didn’t begin chewing till she smelled it thoroughly first.  She is a cautious dog.

Our Family Feast

Our Family Feast

I’ve been reading a bit about the feasts in Europe that preceded Christmas.  One  feast was based on discovery though observation of the longest night, the night that tipped away from shortening days and lengthening nights toward gradually lengthening days and shortening nights.  So they lit fires, held a feast, and let a jester with a scepter rule the night.  Fun, joy, light from a huge bonfire and many fire brands reigned during that long night. (Might the jester have been an old fool who could not be quieted?)

When a significant number of Europeans were converted to the Christian faith they learned that the life of Jesus was the light of the world.  So they wedded their pagan feasts with the Christian way of love, joy, peace, and light and our Christmas was born. Ofttimes the exuberance of the celebration overwhelms the message of Jesus. Perhaps the light of the Gospel should be excised from the celebration and given a life of its own.

Allow the Old Fool to throw the light of the Gospel on guns, a favored gift for many in the US this December.  When Jesus was being arrested, Peter grabbed his sword and swung it at the neck of a servant of the priest and when the man ducked to keep from being decapitated, Peter’s sword neatly sliced off his ear. According to the myth, Jesus took the ear and fastened it back in its place.  Then he told Peter to put his sword in its place.  I believe society may be near the point of insisting that all guns be put in their place, in the holster, and better, locked in the gun case.

When the light of the life of Jesus shines though all philosophies, religions and all governmental policies, I believe that we will take the guns from those locked places and melt them and remold them into useful instruments and gadgets. We will do that because it is our right to do so.

The Old Fool tends to agree with the NRA that guns aren’t the problem, people are.  So the Old Fool invites the NRA to join in changing people, not by training anyone how to use a gun, but in training men, women, boys and girls to love others (neighbors and enemies)  in the Jesus way.  That is the Old Fool’s Christmas message to the readers of his blog.

In Memory of Rhoda

In Memory of Rhoda

Now I must get ready to leave for the family celebration at grandson Daniel’s home.  We will burn rose-shaped candles in memory of Rhoda, the beautiful rose who slipped away from us about eight days after Christmas one year ago.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays

  1. Wanda says:

    I SO LOVE the idea of the rose candles for Rhoda. I have had many thoughts of her over the past days. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Tell Dan congrats on his award. I think that is so awesome.

    • The rose was our flower. In a few days I will post the video of the memorial service at College Mennonite Church. You will be able to see and hear her grandson, Phil, read the poem I wrote and gave to her in our sophomore year: “I love the beautiful rose, Rhoda.

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