By Rev. James L. Snyder
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage had commandeered the Christmas decorating operation for yet another year. I am not quite sure how she remembers when to start all of this, because the thought had not yet entered my mind.
Here it is Christmas and I am about as prepared for Christmas this year as I was last year. One of the great things about my wife is that she keeps all of these holidays in order and on time. I am still reeling from my Thanksgiving Day turkey indulgence.
Once again, our home is in decorating mode. My great contribution to the Christmas holiday decorating plan is to keep out of my wife’s way. One year I tried to help her and let’s just say we will not repeat that again. I just have no decorating expertise at all. I cannot tell the difference between a wrapping bow and a Christmas tree bulb.
Before I could get out of the way of the decorating frenzy in our home, I ran across something in the back of a box. How it got there, I have no way of knowing. How I got up this morning, I have no way of knowing either. However, there was a photo album from when I was a young person.
I want to stress the fact that there was a time when I was a young person. We will not discuss how long ago that was, but just know that there was a time in my illustrious career when I was a young person.
I opened up the album and saw all of those photographs from when I was a young person. The photograph that really caught my attention was one taken before I was one year old. I had forgotten this photo. Of course, I have no recollection of when that photo was taken. I was about nine months old and I was mostly occupied with the rascal who confiscated my bottle.
I had simple concerns at that time. I was not worried for example about world affairs, politics or the economy. As long as I knew where my next bottle was coming from, I was a happy little camper in a diaper. I miss those days of naivety. I am looking forward someday returning to that state of mind.
I delighted looking at all of those pictures of what’s was supposed to be me when I was very young. Then I found a picture I had completely forgotten about.
It is valuable at times to go back and relive the past. I know you cannot really relive the past, but you can look at the past and see how far you have come. Photographs are a marvelous way of reliving the past. These were the old black and white photographs, so you know how long ago that was.
The photo that really caught my attention was when I was very young. I believe this is the first photo ever taken of me. It was in the year of our Lord 1951 and I was nine months old. Looking at that picture I had to admit to myself that I really was a cute little guy.
It was a black-and-white photo but my mother had carefully colored it with crayons. She did a marvelous job but then she had a great piece of work to begin with, if I say so myself.
The important thing about this photo was it was a picture of me, but it was also a picture of the winner of the cutest baby award in our community in 1951. I had won a beauty award when barely 9 months old. How many people can boast about that?
I really do not know any of the details of that beauty contest. After all, every nine-month-old baby is cute. I really do not think I was the cutest baby but then again I won the title and I have the picture in my hand.
Unfortunately my beauty career peak then and it has been on a downward slide ever since. I have the skid marks to prove it.
After looking at that picture for a while, went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror. What a shock. I could not see any resemblance in the mirror to anything in the picture. It would be a stretch for anybody to say that the two pictures were of the same person.
When anybody says that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder I would like to correct them and say that beauty is in the hands of the holder of a picture of the baby who won the cutest baby award in 1951.
In the years since that picture was taken, I have lived quite a bit and Father Time has carved his initials on my face. I can honestly say I am not the same person in that photo. What innocence then. What naivety. There in that photo was a person who had not yet experienced the lumps of life yet.
The verse of Scripture that has encouraged me throughout my life has been Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV), “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Life is full of ups and downs, gains and losses but in the end, those who trust Christ are marvelously guided throughout life and enjoy life of blessing to the Lord.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.
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