Things change despite traditions
By Mike Haynes
Various thoughts between Thanksgiving and Christmas, some weightier than others:
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My family tried to keep Thanksgiving as close as possible to the way it’s been for many decades despite my mother’s death last Dec. 21. Last year, during Mom’s five-week hospital stay, the family had Thanksgiving dinner at Furr’s.
This year, back at the home place, we just carried on without much mention of our loss. My wife, who had called Dad to get the recipe, tried to approximate the cornbread dressing the way Mom used to do it.
The games of Catch Phrase went on with three generations laughing around the kitchen table, but a voice was missing. The circle of 22 holding hands as Dad said grace was one short of normal.
But I suppose it wouldn’t be normal if everything stayed the same. We had a marriage in the family last summer, another one is coming up next summer, and a niece’s new boyfriend joined us in playing pool and taking out the trash. Another niece’s young husband, who only a couple of years ago was shy and finding his way in our family, seemed like he’d been with us for years.
The Ecclesiastes writer was right. “There is a time for everything, … a time to be born and a time to die, … a time to mourn and a time to dance…”
As much as I’d like things to stay the same, they don’t.
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Keynote speaker Ken Starr’s words at the 25th Community Prayer Breakfast in Amarillo Nov. 25 were inspiring, but even more moving to me was the fact that believers from all over the city and area joined together at the event.
The choir represented high schools in every part of town. The audience included pastors and church members of every denomination. Custodians and cowboys shared scrambled eggs with insurance agents and college regents.
The 1,500 people were white, black and other colors, if you happened to notice. Race didn’t matter, because all were focused on their common Creator.
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I wrote not long ago that I don’t pay much attention to contemporary Christian music on the radio. After a second Thanksgiving dinner with my wife’s family, our sister-in-law – who lives in Oklahoma – mentioned that between songs on K-Love, Jud Wilhite of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas is one of a few pastors who offer inspiring words on the national radio network.
Wilhite grew up in Amarillo and preaches at Hillside Christian Church when he’s in town. Maybe I’ll tune into K-Love more often.
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My brother gave me a cool birthday present last month: a widow’s mite.
If that term sounds vaguely familiar, it’s the coin mentioned in Mark 12 and Luke 21. The King James version of the Bible reports a “poor widow” putting “two mites,” or small coins, into the temple treasury. Jesus said her offering was worth more than the larger amounts given by the wealthy.
My mite comes from the reign of Alexander Jannaeus of Judea, 103 to 76 B.C. Yes, it’s around 2,100 years old. Luckily for me, a lot of them were minted, so they aren’t worth that much money today and it was within the birthday spending limit.
But having something that was circulating the same time Jesus’ sandals were kicking up dust is more than cool. Things have changed in 2,100 years, but this coin remains, and it reminds me of the unchanging Christ.