Today’s guest post is from none other than my better half! In light of the upcoming Christmas celebration, my husband, Bill, is sharing his thoughts on Christmas memories. Not only will his post inspire and delight you, it also affords me the gift of time I need for shopping, cooking, and wrapping as the clock winds down. Really, what more could a gal ask for from her hubby? May you be blessed as you read. I know I was.
There is a piece of Americana residing in Beverly Hills, a place an average Joe like myself rarely visits. My kids’ high school basketball team was playing in a tournament at Beverly Hills High so I had the opportunity to see how the other half lives. When I stepped into the gym I caught a whiff of chlorine. “Strange,” I thought.
I was discussing the smell with other fans and we arrived at the conclusion there must be a pool nearby. More conversation ensued and I thought “Could there be a pool underneath the gym floor like in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life? We googled it. Yes indeed, the scene where Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed fall into the pool while dancing was shot in the very gym where we were sitting!
Now Hold on a Minute!
After the end of the championship game, a button was pushed that opened up the gym floor. As the floor retracted parents and fans started taking videos and pictures with cell phones. When I looked at the picture on my phone, I was disappointed. Now hold on a minute! This is not the way it was in the movie. In the movie it was black and white. Here it was in vivid color. At least it could have been pastel looking, like when old black and white movies are colorized. But there it was in bold color. I didn’t like it.
After pondering this for a while it dawned on me this is how I often treat Christmas memories in general. I idealize some Christmas in the past and unless the present holiday achieves a picture perfect match to that Christmas, I deem it somewhat of a failure. I mean it’s still good, after all Christmas is Christmas, but some celebrations have not matched up to my memory of a special Christmas I experienced. I wished they would.
Living Life in Color
However, the more I pondered this, the more I realized how backward my thoughts were. God made the world in color. Movies were shot in black and white because we did not originally have the technology to portray the world as God had created. In general most people would prefer to see things in color. I just got back from Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart and I can tell you they don’t sell any black and white TVs anymore. My TV has a setting for black and white, and even sepia, but if I switched to that setting during the BCS game I would have a riot on my hands.
Is it possible that God wants me to be grateful and enjoy the blessings of Christmas past, but is also saying try something new, whatever He may have for me this season? The scriptures say “For God so loved the world,” but it is the rare heart that actually believes that God really loves them. Maybe he loves you and me enough to give us a new Christmas experience. So many of us hang onto our best Christmas memory and say that is what defines Christmas. If our current Christmas matches that memory, then we’ve successfully done Christmas. If not, then it’s a partial failure.
In the past I have been one of those who wrecked Christmas by either sitting around waiting for the “Christmas spirit” to mysteriously descend upon me, or trying to do everything I could to manufacture it. This year, I have decided I will seek God first and have Him direct me into Christmas. It may be come with a big bang or it may be a moment of solitude. Who knows? He knows what I need.
Turning the Story Around
There is one part of my gym floor-swimming pool story I left out, and at a time when life may not be going well for everyone or their families it may be relevant. As I said, we googled to find out that there was a pool under the floor, but we didn’t see it until after the last game, on the last day of the tournament.
The only reason the floor was opened, revealing the pool underneath, was because a coach had dropped his dry erase board (used to draw up plays) between the edge of the gym floor and a wall. It slipped between that half-inch opening to the pool deck below. The only way to retrieve the board was to slide the floor open. If the floor had not been open, I would not have taken the photo, been disappointed it was in color and then put my thoughts into this post. My only story would have been to tell people I had been at the high school where the famous scene was shot.
This is how God often works. In His omnipotence and omniscience, He redeems things gone wrong. He can turn the story around, and, that as you may recall, is what It’s a Wonderful Life is all about.
What do you need to do to enjoy Christmas in the here and now?
Copyright Note: The film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is copyrighted. The images, however, are public domain.