He didn’t remember

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, December 20, 2019
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’Twas the night before Christmas. At our son’s home we were … admiring his Christmas village. It was the first time his father had looked upon it. Soon, a question filled the air.

“There are four pieces we always had at the farm. Which ones are they, dad?”

I remember well which pieces they were as I’d set up our village each year … every year … for many a year. The small table upon which it stood would be covered with quilt batting creating a blanket of fluffy white round each piece. Within the fluffy white was hidden a cobblestone pathway, an oval mirror reflective of a skating rink, and the pieces mimicked the poetic village in which we had grown up. A church, schoolhouse, post office, fire hall, and a main street theatre were a few of the pieces set out with little yellow lights casting a glow around town.

Once the village was set up, I’d gather the little ones in the darkened room. As eyes lit with the lighting of the village, it became a magical moment. I treasured the tradition and knew that each set of eyes did too. Proof came when our son asked to take some of those pieces as his own.

Now, getting back to the question posed. “Which of the four pieces were from the farm?”

Silence hovered. I hinted, did a fifty-fifty process of elimination, and still no dice. My husband could not remember one single piece that had been on display within our home for the past umpteen years. My heart sank; he simply did not know.

“I just don’t remember that kind of stuff!” He glumly responded. I was perturbed. I kept my response in check, but deep down, it bothered me.

As I took pause, a few memories of my own began to surface. There was the time the new machine shed had been built. Mere steps away and I had not taken the time to go look until well after the fact. It simply hadn’t occurred to me to do so. I recalled a recent four-wheeler ride to look at deer plots he’d been working on. They were poetically planned pathways on which we traveled. I had no idea! For months he’d been working on this and I knew nothing about it. Later, he let me in on the truth. He’d been doing this for years … along with his brothers. A world of which I knew nothing about.

The words from Isaiah 9:7 began to tug within. “And of peace there will be no end.”

John Piper explains how adopting an attitude of peace rather than one of conflict might be possible. “Jesus has come to inaugurate that peace among God’s people. It’s not only the absence of conflict and animosity but also the presence of joyful tranquility and as much richness of interpersonal communication as you are capable of. The way God’s promises become real for us and produce peace in us and through us is ‘in believing’ whether we are talking about peace with God, peace with ourselves, or peace with others.”

So, whether he remembered or I forgot … it truly matters not. Bringing Light onto the pathways upon which we travel is what does.

James 1:17 reminds us what a gift it is to see Light in the midst of any darkness we perceive. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

If He is never changing … then I need never change in choosing love to shed Light upon any darkness perceived. Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)