Friday, December 28, 2012


The most memorable Christmas I can recall was the year we covered the Christmas tree with small gold-colored clips that held tiny red (unlit) candles. This was the year we discovered frosting in a can that permitted us to decorate our gingerbread men with particular fineness. This was the year I got a John Deere tractor, a gas station, Lincoln Logs and this may have been the same Christmas I got a small plastic case that folded out presenting a Western scene with a teepee on one side and a fort on the other. The scene was populated by tiny plastic cowboys and Indians and the hours of play turned into years of play.

I can’t say there is one particular gift that stands out as my favorite. I’ve had a few “screamers;” you know, those gifts you open and the only reaction is to scream and dance. “The Complete Works of Jonathan Edwards” was a screamer a few short years back, and while those two volumes hold a special place on my shelf, in my mind, to my walk and for my life, they are not my favorite Christmas gifts.

A significant gift was the guitar--brand new, and I got to pick it out. Truthfully, I had no clue “then” how I would be using it “now.” Still love it.

Three gifts stand out as favorites, but in no specific order. I can’t rank them in order because each gift performs a unique task and makes a certain contribution--and not just to me.

The most recent gift was my Cello, “Elizabeth.” I’ve already described in another place the circumstance of her arrival, so I’ll not rehearse that here. I will merely say that every time I think of playing, my world begins to shift through the ritual of preparation: I have to set up the music stand, select the music, pull up a chair, uncover then rosin then tune, warm up. Something strange happens to time itself because I sit on a chair and to my listening ear, time is translated into deep tones and high pitches, chords, melodies and harmonies by means of whole, half, quarter and multitudinous subdivisions. An hour has metamorphosed into a Suite, and not just to me, but to anyone who sits to hear. There is a different world where there is music, a different state of mind.

The Microscope and the Telescope appeared the same year, when I was much younger. The gift here was not the tool, but what they exposed. My eyes have personally witnessed cellular and celestial bodies, paramecium and planets. This never gets old, viewing these ancient bodies. Breath-taking to imagine how our Creator must have held his breath for the day when one of the men made in His image figured out how to magnify. Not sure who giggled with most delight.

Then there was the typewriter. Not sure why it is so special except that I can’t stop writing. I feel all blocked up when I don’t. There is something so inexplicably mysterious about a typewriter, punching a key, watching that arm rise up and stamp the page with a pop. Every mistake an indelible mark.

I do have a favorite gift: Jesus. He is my Lord and my Savior, but He is more than music (“what our ears have heard”) and both subject and source of all that science confirms (“what we have seen with our eyes” and “what our hands have handled”).

Popular Posts