Time is a strange thing, if you ask me. Even though I wear a wristwatch every day, most of the time I do not know what time it really is. And for that matter, how important is time?
It came to me in a strange way this past week. I went to bed as normal in the evening. Once we had the grandchildren over and I discovered the difference between grandchildren and grandparents. Grandchildren try to come up with as many excuses not to go to bed while grandparents come up with excuses to go to bed early.
In many ways, the American home faces the danger of becoming a vanishing institution. Along with its extinction, the family unit as we know it is in danger. Children are not growing up in homes anymore. They are growing up in terminals.
In reality, the American family does not need a home. We are born in a hospital, educated in a college, courted in an automobile and married in a church.
I do confess that I enjoy the holiday seasons just like everybody else. One of the main ingredients I enjoy more than anything else is the holiday cuisine. At our house, I must duly confess, it is the best.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is the cooking queen when it comes to all of this holiday food. She does a wonderful job and my job is simply to consume as much of it as I possibly can. We both manage our jobs quite professionally!
As long as no dish has anything like broccoli in it, I will eat it and enjoy it. Broccoli has a way of confusing my taste buds. I’ll not go into any further detail.
It amazes me how my wife can go to the grocery store, buy bags of groceries and turn all of that into the most scrumptious dinner this side of heaven.
As much as I love the holiday cuisine, I must concede there is something I love more than that. I must be careful how I say this because I do not want to compromise in any way my attendance at the next holiday banquet in our residence. I have learned through the years as a husband to be careful what I say and what I do not say and I must say that I am still on the learning track here.
What is better than a holiday banquet?
Right here is where I need to walk very carefully. For years, I have kept this little thought to myself. However, I must come out and confess this. No longer can I keep it a secret because it is a very important aspect of my holiday celebration.
As good as the holiday banquet is in our house there is something much better. I am referring, of course, to leftovers.
My wife cooks so much that there is always an abundance of leftovers. If you know anything about my wife, you know she does not throw anything away. We recycle as much as possible, which also includes food. To throw food away in our house is a criminal offence. You do not want to know the penalty!
Through the years the leftovers have become better and better. I know that the quality of any leftover has to do with the initial cooking. I must say I enjoy that first level of cooking for Thanksgiving and Christmas and every other holiday. I have come to discover, however, that the leftovers are just as good if not better than the originals.
I never thought too much about this until recently. The refrigerator was packed with food left over from our Christmas and New Year’s Day dinners. The table was set most spectacularly and I, and a few family members, set down to stuff ourselves with these holiday vittles. Oh, how delicious every bite was.
I must say I had come to the point, as everybody else around the table did, that I was stuffed and I could not entertain another bite.
At this point, the dessert came to the table. Oh boy, looking at that dessert and smelling the marvelous aroma I rediscovered my appetite. When the call came out, “Anybody want dessert?” I was the first to respond in the positive. I believe in positive thinking, especially at dessert time.
It was the next day when the reality of all of this set in. As my wife is thinking about dinner, she asked me a simple question, “How about having leftovers tonight for dinner?”
At the time I did not think too much of it and grunted a positive response and went back to reading my book.
In a few moments, I began to smell something wonderfully delicious. The smell was coming from the kitchen and then I heard a wonderful invitation, “Supper’s ready. Let’s eat.”
As I situated myself at the table, I began to look around at what was called “leftovers” and was delighted by what I saw.
We always have prayer before we eat and I must confess I had a very abbreviated prayer because I wanted to get into those leftovers.
Every bite seemed more delicious than the previous bite. How my wife can take leftovers and mix it all up into a marvelously delicious supper I will never know. I do not need to know. All I need to do is enjoy the delicacy of her cuisine art.
For the next week, we enjoyed leftovers every suppertime. The last night the table was not quite as full as before and my wife informed me that this was the last of the leftovers.
Of course, my heart sank within me realizing that the delicious aspect of the holiday banqueting was about to come to a close. I never realized before how much I loved those leftovers. I don’t know if it is because I am getting older, or, if I am just recognizing things I’ve never recognized before.
There is a little bit of magic associated with putting together leftovers and making them more delicious than the original setting.
As I finished the last of the leftovers I thought of something Jesus said after he fed the multitude, “When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (John 6:12).
Even in my spiritual life when God blesses me, there are leftovers people around can enjoy. A life so blessed, blesses everybody around.
This is not my first rodeo when it comes to New Years. I have ridden this Bronco so many times I cannot remember how many. Well, I can remember, but I am not going to let that slip. Something to do with a New Year’s Resolution.
Back in the days of youth, I used to stay up to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Now, I see so many people drop the ball during the year that I don’t want to see another one on New Year’s Eve. I’ve seen enough of that.
At my stage in life, health is more important than watching something I have seen a thousand times before.
Memory is a very tricky thing, at least for me it is. Looking back over a year's span of activity, my memory seems to pick and choose what it remembers. After all, I do not have the brain capacity I once had.
Often some old-timer will moan about how much he misses the good old days. I am not sure if he is thinking of World War II or the Great Depression. I am positive that during the Great Depression, some wonderful memories were created, but I am not sure anyone wants to return to those thrilling days of yesterday.
The bad was not as bad as we remember and the good not as good as we boast.
Some things are best forgotten, while some things should never be forgotten; my trouble has always been remembering which is which.
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The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder?s first book, won the Reader?s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored 8 books altogether.
Rev. James L. Snyder has a knack for making fun of daily frustrations and will increase your humor aptitude so you too can discover that life is less stressful when you?re laughing. Through these essays, you will realize that humor and religion belong together and that its OK to keep from taking yourself and others too seriously.
Blog writings by Shirley Choat.
This is Alyssa Sampson's blog. She is Pastor Tim's daughter.
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