Advent is now upon us. It is a time of waiting and a time of preparation for the anniversary of the coming of the Son of God. Instead of making spiritual preparations during Advent, many of us get caught up in the demands of the holiday season. Any extra time we have is spent on the material preparations that have become an annual tradition, such as buying gifts, decorating our homes and work areas, planning parties, and baking treats.
You’ve probably never heard of Lee Pitts. He’s a syndicated newspaper and magazine writer and the author of several books. One of his books, People Who Live At The End of Dirt Roads, is a collection of essays that describe a simpler time in America. One of the essays in the book is entitled These Things I Wish for You and was popularized by Paul Harvey, a famous radio broadcaster for ABC Radio Network from 1951 to 2008. Harvey read Pitt’s essay to his audience during his morning radio show on September 6, 1997.
I periodically receive a letter or email from someone who has never communicated with me but has written to me because he wants to complain about something I wrote. He usually starts out by saying that he has been reading my articles for a while and that he sometimes agrees with me. Then he drops the hammer on me by complaining about a topic I wrote about.
It happened on a Wednesday evening in October 1975. That was the day I went to my first concert that featured a nationally recognized band. I was a freshman in college and the concert was in an arena that was located near the college campus. The band that played was the Beach Boys. They toured the country that year and performed in 100 concerts throughout the United States.
One of the pictures that I have in my office was taken in 1966, at the wedding of my mom’s younger sister, Mary Ann. There are four people in the picture — me, my two cousins, Harry and Tommy LaHood, and our grandmother, Cecilia (Ceil) LaHood. My cousins and I are standing together with our arms around each other’s shoulders. I’m in the middle, my cousin Harry is to my right, and Tommy is to my left. Grandma Ceil is standing behind us with a smile on her face. She looks like she could have been our Guardian Angel.
I’ve written before about my sister, Anna Maria. She was the 11th child in my parent’s family of 17 children. One of my earliest memories of her is when she was two years old. Every time I saw her, she was clutching her security blanket. It didn’t matter whether she was sitting, standing, walking, running, or laying down, it was as though her security blanket was attached to her body. She was always happy, and out of all my sisters, she had the sweetest disposition.
Over the years, I have periodically written about when my six daughters were teenagers. During those years, I attempted to drive home the point that they needed to be careful not to let their guard down when they met a nice guy who appeared to have his act together. I did my best to persuade them to work at discovering the qualities and defects of the young men they met before developing a relationship with them.
My wife and I took a few days off last week and drove to Branson, Missouri, for a short vacation. It was our third trip to Branson. Our last trip there was more than 15 years ago. One of the reasons we wanted to go to Branson was because we had heard about a Broadway-quality musical show about the life of Jesus that was playing at one of the theaters. The title of the show was Jesus.
I have a client — I’ll call her Joanne — who is a devout Christian. Joanne periodically contacts me and asks for my opinion about a faith-based issue she is struggling with. She recently asked me if I think she has an obligation to assist her husband’s mother — I’ll call her Frances — with her basic personal, healthcare, and financial needs.