“May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Both my Mother and Dad played a big part in Christmas at our house. Today I want to talk about my sweet Daddy. Dad was a very outgoing, funny, and beloved man. He was greatly loved and admired by all who knew him. I am not going to talk about all his accomplishments. I just want to tell you about his role as Santa and his part of the decorating.
As long as he was physically able, he strung lights all around the roof of the house. I was always afraid he would fall. He designed a star and a cross of wood and put lights on both and placed them in the front yard as part of our Christmas decorations. They were large enough to make a good show. When he was unable to do it, I stretched the extension cords and put out the cross and star. This was something our neighborhood expected and looked forward to. If he was late getting these out, a few of his friends would call. To this very day, I cannot separate the cross from the cradle. Thank you Dad for your awesome faith and how a large community of people was blessed many years because of you and your love of our Savior.
Dad was also Santa. He and one of our neighbors took turns being Santa to our community children. They had a very authentic looking costume that fit both of them. Sometime during December we could expect a knock on the door and a short visit with Santa. Mother would usually give it away on the night he was to appear telling us to be especially good children that Santa might just be watching. I thought Santa visited all children. Oh, the heartbreak of finding out about Santa and then the lifetime Joy of recognizing the extraordinary gift of all of it. Dad loved all of it….the presents, the food, the family together. Believe me, everybody wanted to be at Mother and Dad’s on Christmas Eve. There were presents everywhere. Mother saved all year for Christmas. There was no way anyone would miss this night. Jenn still talks a lot about it.
A few days ago, Connie asked if I remember the poem I wrote about Dad for a church dinner when Jenn was three months old. I said yes but don’t have a copy of it. In a few days it arrived in the mail from Connie. This is my favorite Christmas memory and again I have Connie to thank. She really thought I should write something to share 41 years ago for our church gathering. Here is the poem:
Written December 1976. It was published twice by the Asheville Citizen Times, once when I entered their Christmas memory contest and then again in early 2000 they pulled it from their archives while I was serving on the Buncombe County Board of Education. The memory itself is what is so meaningful to me but I am eternally grateful that my friend Connie kept her copy. Thank you for indulging me such a personal journey and story.