This was originally posted in 2009 – my parents were able to see 50 years together before my dad passed away in 2011. This story is one that I’ve told my kids several times and it stays with me to this day. Merry Christmas Season, my friends – do not forget why we celebrate.
I am one of a lucky few people whose parents are still married – they will be celebrating their 49th! wedding anniversary this next year. They are truly a Godly example of what a marriage should be.
They were born and raised in Michigan. My dad had a small business doing carpentry in the great Detroit area . Then, they felt the Lord calling them to move to Montana to start a cabinet manufacturing business. And, they did.
I was only four at the time, but I can still remember it. They packed up all their stuff shortly after Christmas. I can remember some of the goodbyes, but more than that, I can remember the treacherous drive west. It was cold, motels were disgusting, we got stuck a couple of times. Not nice.
They were expecting to arrive in Montana with a building ready to be moved into. Instead, they arrived to nothing. The building wasn’t up yet. They had saved enough money to get by for a few months, but not the six months they had to wait until the building was ready to move into.
Finally, the building was ready, and all the equipment was ordered, they could start working. But, work didn’t come easily. Getting contractors to let them bid on jobs, as the new guys in town, was difficult at best. But, my dad didn’t let that stop him. He went from job site to job site trying to get someone to give him a chance.
I think the first job he ever got was one that he told the contractor he would give them the cabinets if the work was unsatisfactory. It wasn’t, and slowly his reputation for high quality work spread.
But, that year, there was very little money for Christmas.
One night, when my dad was working late, he was talking to God – “Lord, what can I do – there isn’t money for Christmas”. The Lord spoke to him and said “David, look around you”.
My dad was surrounding by equipment and materials.
So, he began to build.
That year began the long tradition of “Grand Finale”. For me, it was a secretary desk – full size – complete with a top hutch. Made from scratch, not bought. My brother got a handmade gun cabinet. Not bought.
Presents that weren’t bought with money, but paid for by love.
Each year after that, we had Grand Finale until I was 23 (although, I still ask for it). One year it was a pair of parakeets for my brother and I, another year, a dozen roses. It never mattered what the gift was one bit. It was the tradition of it, but more than that, the thought and consideration put into those gifts.
Through a situation that seemed impossible was born a great thing – one that will last not only in my lifetime, but in my girls’ as we have continued the Grand Finale tradition.
People – and, I say this as a reminder for myself as well – Christmas does not mean rushing around at the mall, rudely pushing your way through the crowds in an attempt to gain the latest and greatest toy of the season. Toys come and go, eventually they will end up at Goodwill.
Christmas is about so much more. Family. Faith. Traditions. Love. Joy.
This week, as we wind up the Season of Giving, please stop. Stop and remember what it really is about. Give Thanks. Give Joy. Give Love. Give from your heart, not your wallet. So that this Christmas may be remembered for years to come, not just until the newest toy comes out on the market.
Many great and wonderful blessings to you this year.