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Rite of passage parenting: ‘Christmas gift!’

My father-in-law, Richard Silver, was an incredibly passionate and jolly man who lived his faith out loud. Before I even fell for his daughter, he and I would spend every Saturday visiting the families of the kids who rode the bus to our church. Then on Sunday morning, he would drive an old, beat-up, yellow school bus as he went around picking up the children we had visited the day before.

They came running out, and a big, ol’ smile would spread across his face as he opened the door and spoke to each one by name. It wouldn’t be taking things too far to say his smile came from the same place that made Jesus smile when the children came running to Him.

But Richard was a man of habit. When he met people or answered his phone during this time of the year, he would never say the customary “Hello.” Instead, he would sing out, “Christmas gift!” He didn’t care who was on the other end of his greeting. He just knew it was the time of the year to celebrate our Lord’s birth. He’s been gone for many years now, but everyone in his family now approaches this season the same way. It’s funny how much difference one person can make.

So, if you will allow me a few lines here, I would like to wish all my friends and family, and especially you, “Christmas gift!” I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of you this year as I have traveled around the country.

Some of you brought me your favorite article you clipped out and stuffed into your Bible. Even though we were meeting for the first time, it seemed like we had known each other all of our lives.

What I love about these encounters is that I get to hear your stories, and they are way better than mine. You told me that while your wife was dying of cancer, she asked you to read her this article every week. Even though she felt terrible, she would grin and, once in a while, chuckle as you read this author’s rambling writing. Thank you for sharing that with me. I want to wish you, “Christmas gift!”

I had one man tell me that his wife would pester him each week: “Have you read Walker’s article yet?” He added, “She makes my life miserable until I say, ‘Yes, dear, I have read his article this week.’” I want to wish that lady an extra “Christmas gift!”

And I want to include the lady whom I believe is in her 90s that I met at Miami, First. She told me her favorite article was “The Girl in The Yellow Dress,” because it had touched her life deeply. She then asked if I would sign her Bible. I was humbled beyond measure. I would also like to wish her, “Christmas gift!”

To the couple who kept staring at me in the movie theater line when finally, the wife asked, “Are you Walker Moore?” When I said, “Yes,” she said, “We read your articles all the time! I recognized your picture from your article.” My son looked at me and said, “Dad, I can’t take you anywhere.” I also want to wish you two, “Christmas gift!”

I am at the age where there is really nothing I need—except hearing aids, Rogaine for my thinning hair, books with larger print and an extra-thick sweater for these cold winter days. And oh, yes, I’ve still got the remote starter my family bought for my truck five years ago sitting in the box. Other than these few things, I am pretty well set.

But the greatest gifts I receive come throughout the year when I get to meet and hear from you. Thank you for those gifts.

Two thousand years ago, God sent His angel with a birth announcement. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on Earth peace to those on whom His favor rests’” (Luke 2:10-14).

If Richard had been in charge of the angels, he could have summed all this up in two words: “Christmas gift!”

Walker Moore

Author: Walker Moore

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