As a grandpa there are certain things we dearly love about our precious grandchildren and there are things that terrify us. We absolutely adore the smiles and laughter. We embrace the sweet little “I Love You Papaw’s” with delight and letting them do things you would have NEVER allowed you children to do… Priceless! There are moments when even a papaw can’t navigate the “I want my mommy” moments when tasked with babysitting duties. Thus was the case a few weeks back when I had been given charge of both Miss Kairi and Mr. Spencer for a short while whilst mommy and Grandma ran a quick errand. My office at home is a working site and not as conducive to the interest and imagination of little folks as other areas of the house but there we were, grandpa and grandkids, alone for 30-40 minutes and in of all places. Papaw’s office! After the interest in Papa’s less than big screen TV cartoon efforts I knew I needed to think quick to entertain the little guy. Kairi was pleasantly pleased with some old coloring books but Spencer was growing restless. It was then I remembered an old storage trunk that Terri had retrieved from deep in the attic regions of this old house containing, (are you ready for this?) my old Tonka trucks! I called Spencer to me with that manufactured enthusiasm that we older folks resort to when we want to make the grandkids suddenly excited about doing the necessary like brushing their teeth or eating vegetables. Wow, Spencer, what could possibly be in here? I asked with more gusto than needed. To my surprise, he turned and cast an interested glance in my direction and trotted over to the box with me. I feigned as much excitement as possible hoping that in his little mind he would forget his mommy was gone and approach the imminent discover with the fervor that Indiana Jones would express as he pried open a cave entrance. I lifted the lid revealing treasures from my childhood, and to my amazement… he dove right in! He loved it! In fact when mommy did return it was a struggle to pry his attention from the Tonka dump truck he had come to claim as his favorite! The entire experience took me back though. Back to countless hours of scouring the Spiegel and True Value catalogues that were prominent in my home growing up. Back to those Christmas mornings when at long last the wait came to an end and that shiny Tonka Dump truck that beckoned me from the pages of a book became a trusted toy in childhood memory. A wish that became reality and caused a little boy to possess more joy than he could have ever imagined.
My mind goes quickly to Mary and Joseph; of course they were not looking at gifts under a tree, but a small bundle of joy wrapped in swaddling clothes. There were no presents or wrapping paper, but what their eyes gazed upon was the greatest gift ever given. I mean ever! The wise men would not only find the king they were seeking but would, because of their obedience to the sign that led them to a small town, they too would never be the same. It is good to remember as we once again count down the days until Christmas a few thoughts that allow us to keep this special time of year in it’s proper perspective. First, God alone chose to do this. I love that even John 3:16 becomes a Christmas verse this time of year, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Next may we remember that God alone is to be thanked! Paul said it this way, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” He is the giver, we the receiver. This gift came not from the government, the department stores or even our family, it came from God himself. The King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself to you and me. Perhaps the greatest truth that needs remembering is the fact that the Gift is still available today! A few years ago I was interviewing Gordon Mote on Daystar’s Tri State Celebration where he shared this song, “There was a star in the Eastern sky, That shone down on Bethlehem, A few had recognized the sign A King was born to them, And it drew them to a manger, To a virgin mother’s son, Who would draw us to salvation, God’s gift to everyone. In these crazy troubled times, The world seems so out of tune, Sometime’s it’s like we’re living, Without a flame to light the room. If you’re feeling faithless, and you think you’ve lost your way, Oh there is a hope that’s bright enough to turn your night to day. And the star still shines, After all this time, as a light for you and me. It beckons us to seek him, Wise men still do.” Those words ring so very true once again this Christmas, don’t they? … Merry Christmas!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.Reach