Time is a robber it has been said. It’s the one thing that makes us all equal. Everyone has 24 hours in every day. President Trump has the same amount of time as the kid flipping burgers at the local fast food joint. But those 24 hours can be stolen by any number of distractions and poor choices. We are all the masters of those days.
I keep my grandfather’s railroad watch (pocket watch) sitting in a little glass dome on my night stand. It constantly reminds me of my past, my present, and certainly my future. Time waits for no man. While it is the only constant in our lives, it is the great robber of youth and vitality,of dreams and aspirations, of hopes and desires, and of health and well being. One never knows what a day will bring. It always comes with a disclaimer that it is not guaranteed.
My grandson Jonathan was visiting us when he was about four years old. He was looking at all the stuff my wife keeps for dusting purposes. She has all these little things sitting around so that she will have plenty to do on cleaning day. Jonathan was asking her about each piece and where it came from and why she had it and what did it mean and …..he was four you know.
He looked at my grandfather’s railroad watch in the little dome and asked “Grammy, what is that?” My wife replied, “That is your Pop’s daddy’s watch”. He looked surprised and held out his little hands and asked “Did Pop have a daddy?”
At that moment, he brought my mortality to full focus. I has somehow forgotten that my dad was dead before Jonathan was born. He had never seen him in the flesh. He had never heard his laughter, or his sermons, or his humor, or seen him love his family the way I did.
He made me realize that my dad had been my hero. He had been the man who taught me 15 shovels of sand to one bag of cement. He taught me how to throw bricks up on scaffolds two at a time without them coming apart from each other. He had taught me to use a measuring tape and how to use a hammer. He taught me how to love the idea and process of learning. He was the one person I could always turn to for truth and integrity.
My dad was the essence of strength under pressure. He was a man’s man who stood his ground and never gave in. He was intelligent. Even though he had little formal education, he was well spoken and articulate. He was funny . I always called him the “Christian Will Rogers”. He was always quick with the one liner.
And my dad loved my mother. I cherish that he did that. He even had a small tattoo on his right forearm that was of a blue bird with my mother’s name in a banner being held in the beak of the bird. Of course, the story of the tattoo is not really all that romantic. He was a sailor in WWII and got drunk while on a three day pass in San Francisco. He never remembered getting the tattoo. He would always say, “I am sure glad I was sober enough to tell them Mary was my wife’s name”. I miss that tattoo.
However, I have to reconcile that he is no longer a presence in the flesh. He is an historical figure that becomes a story line to my children’s children. He ceased being the hero and is now simply “the dearly departed”. I visited his grave recently. I do that now more since my mother has joined him in the cemetery. I look at his head stone and long for his presence. It is lost to the ages. Now….he is a story.
My mother used to say..”As you now are, I one was, and as I am now, you soon will be”. How true those words. We are all marching toward that end.
But the greatest thing my dad taught me was the knowledge of a living God and a redeeming Savior! He taught me that the only person who ever lived that remains alive is Jesus!
We sometimes see our Lord as a story to be told ” And the birth of Jesus was on this wise”.(kjv language) and we read the account of the visitation of the angel to the virgin. We put up trees and lights and have parties. We have family gatherings and eat too much and buy too much for people who don’t much like us. We feel the need to give to charity and make ourselves feel better by getting in the “Christmas Spirit”.
I am afraid the condition of our world stems from the fact that we have made the Living Savior just another story to be told. He once was a great man who preached and did miracles. He once was a man who could calm seas and cast out demons. He once was a man who could touch blind eyes and bring sight. He once was a man who showed love and mercy where hatred festered. He still lives and still performs the same miracles now as then.
We must recognize once again that He is not just a story of antiquity, but rather He is the risen savior. He is as much alive and more so, than at any time in history.
My grandson will never know the tenderness of my dad’s hugs or the light in his eyes. But Jonathan CAN know the same Savior and Redeemer that I know. He is more than a story! He is Alive for evermore! He is the one constant in the world of inconsistency.
Get to know Him. You will thank me later.