December 25, 2017
Dear family, friends, and Heart of a Shepherd Readers,
Merry Christmas! I plan to post today’s devotional commentary (Deuteronomy 32-34) later this morning; however, feeling somewhat nostalgic, I wish to post a personal note on this my 61st Christmas Day. (This is a personal blog post, neither theological or ethereal, and I am not offended if you pass this by without reading).
The quiet of my home this Christmas morning invites reflections on Christmas’ past when this day brought joy as childhood dreams were fulfilled. Oh, the joy of waking up early Christmas Day morning and finding under the tree gifts my parents had purchased, far exceeding anything they experienced in their childhoods. I smile when I remember how politically incorrect gifts abounded…Cowboy cap guns, Daisy BB Guns, and my first 20-gauge shotgun. My favorite gift of all…a 26-inch red bicycle with its own headlight!
God blessed my parents with health and longevity and I am able to express to them today my gratitude. I appreciate their effort to fulfill childhood dreams when I know my frivolity came at personal sacrifice I could not have known nor did I appreciate at the time. I love you mom and dad…and, in the words of the late actor Bob Hope, “thanks for the memories”.
Another reminiscence of childhood is my wonder how my maternal grandparents, Roland and Sadie Whitley, presented every grandson and granddaughter a special gift at Christmas (I believe the number was 17 grandchildren). My grandfather was a hardworking, honest man who was a farmer by day and a factory worker at night. My grandmother, taking my grandfather’s modest income, spent the year shopping in anticipation of her large family gathering in the living room, unwrapping gifts with childhood glee. Memories indeed…
My love and gratitude to Sheilah, the beautiful wife of my youth (Proverbs 5:18), who worked within the humble salary of a youth pastor our first 18 years of marriage. Somehow, you made Christmas a special time for our children, stretching dollars, but filling the space beneath the tree with a myriad of wrapped gifts and surprises (and no, we did not give the fat jolly man any credit for our sacrifice).
Finally, a word of gratitude to our parents, Ted and Fairis Smith and Archie and Sylvia Ipock. Sheilah and I raised your grandchildren in Michigan and Florida, but we seldom failed to make the long trek home to the Carolinas for Christmas. Thank you; thank you for sacrificial love, opening your homes to our family, and sacrificing to give our children coveted memories. Thanks for sweet memories…
With the love of a son, husband, father, and grandfather,
Travis D. Smith
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith