McDowell Technical Community College

Life Lessons

Through the Eyes of a Child

By Doug Harrell

Here it is, the day after Christmas.  In last month’s Life Lessons, I talked about the Christmases of long ago, back in the mid 1940’s, when I was a child and the memories I had from then.  This morning I was reflecting on Christmas 2017, and how the prospective has changed over the years.  The eyes of a child versus the eyes of a mid-seventy-year-old great grandfather.  Yesterday we were fortunate to have a granddaughter, her husband and four of her sons with us Christmas morning. We also had my ninety-three-year-old mother with us, so we were blessed on both sides, but oh the difference.

The day before Christmas, Sunday this year, I stayed home with mother while Barbara went to church. We cannot both leave unless we have someone to stay with mother.  Our church, Bear Creek Baptist Church, has the service streaming on Facebook so I took my phone into mother’s room and sat down on the bed with her and we watched the service together.  It was the Christmas Cantata and it was beautiful.  As we were watching, mother asked me to scratch her back several times, and we laughed about our backs always itching.  We were discussing the upcoming Christmas day and it was kind of sad.  Mother made the comment to me, Doug I think my time here is about over, I miss all my friends and family that are gone.  I am constantly asking God why he wants to keep me here so long, and I am ready to go on home.  This was not a morbid discussion, but just kind of matter of fact, and I understood where she was coming from.   She mentioned the fact that she missed AD, my dad, and that it just was not the same anymore.

The eyes and minds of the young in most cases have not experienced the loss of loved ones, and the future is still all ahead of the them, and therefore the magical moments that Christmas can bring are truly amazing.  The challenge for us older folks is to be constantly reminded that we are, and should be, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, not just a present and Santa Clause day.  If we are believers, we still have reason to celebrate, even with our memory bank of losses, but these are really gains, if we truly understand.  Our minds need to encompass the fact that we are here but for a short time, and then we move on to eternity, where we will be reunited with those of faith that have gone on before.  It is important that we see the season through the eyes of the children, but it is even more important for us to teach and train the children about the true meaning of Christmas.  Barbara has always done a great job with this by doing a birthday cake for Jesus that the children and grandchildren were involved in decorating, and then we would light the candles and sing happy birthday to Jesus.  This was accompanied with reading the Christmas Story from Luke, chapter two.

As the seasons of life change, and they do for all of us, give us wisdom to embrace the present, but the foresight to plan for the future, and this means preparing those that come behind to face those same challenges as they get older.  May we always keep in mind that our number one responsibility in life is to prepare others to accept our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and this is most important for our immediate family.  The only true gift, and true legacy we leave, is the gift of grace through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not forget it.