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Christmas Reflections and the Sands of Time!
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 by Dr Andy Opritza

 

Christmas Reflections and the Sands of Time!

How shall I begin to tell you about my many Christmases that began ninety-four years ago? How is it possible for me to remember the many happy, and many unhappy remembrances of Christmases past when one finds it difficult to remember what transpired just a few moments ago? Well strangely enough they, Christmases, are all clear as day. I remember! I surely don’t know how, but I honestly do remember. 

I can truly say that the Christmas season with all its wonderful glitter, its promise of long-prayed-for gifts and yes, the celebration of the birth of our Messenger of love, Jesus Christ, has been my favorite above all others. Yet, the Christmas season has also been at times a time of bitter disappointment for me. Why such a dichotomy of emotion of elation & bitter disappointment? I suppose I could easily explain it away by saying that a young mind cannot understand or accept all that life encounters. Perhaps, but at the age of ten I desperately wanted a bicycle or a sled on Christmas morning. It was never to be! Christmas time during the great depression of the 30’s was always a time of great hope and dreams for me as a child and always ended in despair and great sadness, but celebrating the birth of our Savior and hustle and bustle of the season did ameliorate the pain somewhat. But I really, did want a bicycle!

I remember how an act of love by my brother John, made one Christmas morning very special for me. My brother was one and half years older than me and was always “my big brother”. He always seemed to be around when I needed him most. I did have an older brother and sister, but they usually had “other things to do”. I suppose the fact that my mother died when I was one year old, and the fact that my father never remarried, contributed to my Brother John’s emotions toward me. At any rate, his act of love one Christmas morning will never be forgotten by me.

One Christmas season, the year when I was six years old (1933), was a time of severe poverty for our family. I knew instinctively that I would not get any presents, and that Santa Claus would need more time to fulfill my dream for a bicycle. I knew it would be a lost cause to even ask for anything for Christmas when we barely had enough to eat. 

It was approximately two weeks before Christmas when I noticed that my brother John was acting strangely. Much to my great consternation, he would go down into the “cellar” and lock the door to keep me from seeing what he was doing. He retreated into the cellar nightly despite my begging him to let me go with him. He would always say to me that he was “fixing something,” Of course, his remarks only added to my frustration. I remember thinking that I would “get even” with him for tormenting me -- “with his secret”. 

Christmas morning, early Christmas morning, I finally discovered what his secret was --- he had made for me a wonderful little wooden car that had turning wheels, and was painted RED. It was my only gift that Christmas morning. It was the best gift any six-year-old could ever receive. I cherished and lovingly cared for that little car for many years. His caring never ceased throughout all the succeeding years until he succumbed to disease a few years ago at the age of 79. I am sure he is smiling as I write this Christmas story about him. I wonder if he intends to go back down into the ‘cellar’ again this Christmas Season?

There was one Christmas Season during my young adulthood that meant so very much to me.  It was 1945, and I was in the Navy during world-war II. I had missed the Christmas Holliday season at home for the first time in all my 17 years of life the previous year because I was in Boot camp at the naval base at Sampson, New York in 1944. In December, 1945, I was stationed at St Alban Hospital, Long Island, New York as a naval medical corpsman. Good fortune permitted me a furlough to be home for the 1945 Christmas Holliday. I was elated! Travel during the war years was difficult, but I managed to hike a ride on a train that was filled, so that the only space for me was the closed space between passenger rail cars. The eighteen-hour ride from Long Island New York to Youngstown, Ohio was, to say the least, uncomfortable! But I was home for Christmas!! I know that sometimes we take things for granted in life, but I can tell you, being home for Christmas that year was the most important event of my life. I can remember sitting by myself in the living room of our less than modern home silently enjoying our large Christmas tree. I can remember thinking how wonderful it was to be home again, and wondering what the New Year will bring, and if I would be able to return home for the next Christmas season. Yes, I believe the Christmas of 1945 was the most spiritual soul-searching event of my life.

But wait, I forgot to tell you about two other Christmases that were especially poignant and dear to me. I know that I have written about these before, but the two stories that I am about to tell you, are perhaps the true essence of Christmas for all Children, whether they are young or old.

Have you ever seen Santa Claus? No? Well, I know a person who thought he did! Many years ago, in the mid- 1950’s, we were all young! My children were under ten years of age and were anxiously waiting for Christmas morning to come. To say they were excited would be a misnomer, they were spastic!!  The weather was idyllic that Christmas eve. Snow was falling gently in large fluffy flakes – it was a picturesque, classic winter scene. I am not sure why I looked up from my newspaper, but when I saw my oldest son Steven looking out of our living room window, I knew that something or someone had mesmerized him his eyes were as large as saucers. Yes, coming up our front steps was Santa Claus, himself, with a few ho, hos, Santa gave each child a gift and swiftly departed. He did have much work to do that night!

 It truly is wonderful to have good neighbors at Christmas time especially if they look like Santa Claus!

Of course, there have been many wonderful Christmases with the children over the past many years, so I won’t bore you with repetitious, delightful memories that had made our lives so much the richer. However, there was one Christmas that will never be forgotten by a boy who was seventeen years old in 1970. As was the custom on Christmas morning, we always exchanged gifts slowly, one by one, so that everybody could admire, comment, and tell the recipient how nice the gift was. After each person received their gifts, something appeared to have gone terribly wrong, my seventeen-year-old had not received a single gift. He was devastated! After a few moments, I could wait no longer; I said “Mark, do you see something shining on the Christmas tree”? Slowly, then realizing something was afoot, he dashed to the tree, and retrieved a new set of car keys that matched a new Ford Pinto parked in our neighbor’s driveway. It surely was a wonderful Christmas after all – for all of us!!

Perhaps if the stars and planets remain properly aligned, I will have more memories to relish and share with you in the future.

Merry Christmas, and have a blessed Holiday!

Signed:  An old Santa Claus helper

PS: FYI, Santa paid $2,100 for the Pinto

 

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Comments

Melinda From Tennessee At 12/23/2020 7:08:51 PM

I loved reading this post! How wonderful to share those precious Christmas memories! ??

Eva Marie Everson From Florida At 12/23/2020 5:16:02 PM

Dr. Andy, What a wonderfully full life you have had! Thank you for sharing part of it with us during this season!

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9/1/2017

The ABC's of Driving Traffic to Your Blog
Andy Lee
8/18/2017

Steady On!
Penny Hunt
8/11/2017

Compelled to Write
Andy Lee
8/4/2017

Letting Go of the Numbers
JoAnne Macco
7/28/2017

Freelancing Offers Freedom a "Real Job" Can't
James Watkins
7/14/2017

Six Tips from Literary Agents
Eva Marie Everson
7/7/2017

What Writers Are Really Worth
David Brannock
6/23/2017

Wisdom in Knowing When to be Quiet
Eva Marie Everson
6/16/2017

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary
Lori Hatcher
6/9/2017

The Winner of our Flash Fiction Contest
Andy Lee
6/2/2017

When You Want to Quit Writing
Meg Gemelli
5/26/2017

Blogging for the Bible Study Writer
Katy Kauffman
5/19/2017

Boomerang Stories
Belinda Grimbeek
5/12/2017

What's Holding You Back?
Tina Hunt
5/5/2017

Using Flash Fiction to Test Your Ideas
Tez Brooks
4/28/2017

How to Prepare for Your Book's Release
Ginger Monette
4/21/2017

When God Gives You Manna
Sherri Stewart
4/14/2017

Why You Won’t Submit that Piece I Asked For
Lori Hatcher
4/7/2017

How to Decide When to Self-Publish and Advice from One Who Has
Diane E. Tatum
3/31/2017

Faith In Process: Why Prayer is Essential to Our Writing
Terri Rhoden
3/24/2017

Writers Are a Strange Lot
Lori Hatcher
3/16/2017

When Balance and Writing Don't Co-exist
Heather Iseminger
3/9/2017

Six Blogging Trends for 2017
Andy Lee
3/1/2017

Six Things to Do When You Want to Give Up
Maresa DePuy
2/24/2017

Faculty Interview with Heather Iseminger
Bethany Jett
2/22/2017

Faculty Interview with Susan Reichert
Bethany Jett
2/21/2017

Faculty Interview with Linda Gilden
Bethany Jett
2/20/2017

Faculty Interview with Tina Yeager
Bethany Jett
2/19/2017

Faculty Interview with Beth Patch
Bethany Jett
2/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Karen Ball
Bethany Jett
2/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Erin Taylor Young
Bethany Jett
2/17/2017

Faculty Interview with Dawn Anderson
Bethany Jett
2/17/2017

Faculty Interview with Dan Walsh
Bethany Jett
2/15/2017

Faculty Interview with Nancy Lohr
Bethany Jett
2/14/2017

Faculty Interview with Natalie Gillespie
Bethany Jett
2/13/2017

Faculty Interview with Shana Asaro
Bethany Jett
2/13/2017

Faculty Interview with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley
Bethany Jett
2/12/2017

Faculty Interview with Bethany Jett
Eva Marie Everson
2/11/2017

Media and Promos with Punch
Kathy Bruins
2/11/2017

Faculty Interview with Lindsay Brackett
Bethany Jett
2/10/2017

Faculty Interview with Michelle Medlock Adams
Bethany Jett
2/9/2017

Faculty Interview with Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock
Bethany Jett
2/8/2017

Faculty Interview with Edie Melson
Bethany Jett
2/6/2017

Faculty Interview with Eddie Jones
Bethany Jett
2/3/2017

Faculty Interview with Hannah C. Hall
Bethany Jett
2/1/2017

Faculty Interview with Cyle Young
Bethany Jett
1/30/2017

Faculty Interview with Kristen Stieffel
Bethany Jett
1/28/2017

Faculty Interview with Bill Watkins
Bethany Jett
1/27/2017

Glimpses from the Writer’s Glossary
Linda Gilden
1/23/2017

Faculty Interview with Torry Martin
Bethany Jett
1/20/2017

Faculty Interview with Marti Pieper
Bethany Jett
1/18/2017

Faculty Interview with Shellie Arnold
Bethany Jett
1/16/2017

Writing a Standout First Page and Blurb
Shana Asaro
1/11/2017

How to Evaluate Your Options
Cheri Cowell
1/9/2017

Faculty Interview with Linda Glaz
Bethany Jett
1/6/2017

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Continuous Critique Track?
Shellie Arnold
1/4/2017

Faculty Interview with Lora Zill
Bethany Jett
1/2/2017

Faculty Interview with Laura Petherbridge
Bethany Jett
12/30/2016

Interview with Katy Kauffman
Bethany Jett
12/28/2016

Interview with Kristen Hogrefe
Bethany Jett
12/26/2016

Faculty Interview with Ben Wolf
Bethany Jett
12/23/2016

5 Reasons to be a Word Weaver
Kristen Hogrefe
12/21/2016

Finding Your Tribe
Katy Kauffman
12/19/2016

Faculty interview with Angela Hunt
Bethany Jett
12/16/2016

Faculty Interview with Alton Gansky
Bethany Jett
12/14/2016

Faculty Interview with Cheri Cowell
Bethany Jett
12/13/2016

A Silent Retreat
Laura Petherbridge
12/12/2016

How to Get More Readers Using Libraries and Magazines ( A Class Offered)
Susan Reichert
12/9/2016

Platform is Not a Four Letter Word
Andy Lee
12/7/2016

Writing for CBN.com
Beth Patch
12/5/2016

Nonfiction A-Z
Edie Melson
12/2/2016

Blogging for the Soul and Making a Difference
Andy Lee
11/30/2016

Will I Ever Be Published?
Linda S. Glaz
11/28/2016

Conquering Mountains
Erin Taylor Young
11/25/2016

I've Written a Children's Book . . . Now What?
Hannah C. Hall
11/16/2016

To Plot or Not
Nancy Lohr
11/14/2016

Writing to Satisfy Our Insatiable Longing to Feel God's Pleasure
Lora Zill
11/11/2016

The Problem with Procrastination
Andy Lee
11/9/2016

Tips for Mastering Dialogue
Dr. Dennis Hensley
11/7/2016

Self-Editing: The Key to Better Writing
Bill Watkins
11/4/2016

Poetry: Cross-Training for Prose Writers
Lora Zill
10/31/2016

Issues Writing That Matters
Bill Watkins
10/28/2016

7 Trends in Book Publishing
Eddie Jones
10/24/2016

Ethics for Christian Writers
Marti Pieper
10/21/2016

Ministry Multiplied
Alton Gansky
10/17/2016

Guidelines for Effective Networking
Deb Haggerty
10/14/2016

Stay Current: Keep Italics Out of Your Fiction
Dr. Angela Hunt
10/7/2016

To E-Book Or Not To E-Book: That is the question
Cheri Cowell
9/30/2016

Is My Writing Good Enough?
Tina Yeager
9/23/2016

Look Who Is Teaching the Fiction Continuing Class
Eva Marie Everson
9/16/2016

The Difference Between a Dream and a Call
Andy Lee
9/2/2016

Lose the Parts Readers Skip
Dan Walsh
8/26/2016

How to Let People Know Your Book Exists
Natalie Gillespie
8/19/2016

Advice from an Editor Regarding Your Manuscript
Fay Lamb
8/5/2016

Through the eyes of an acquisition editor
Ramona Richards
7/29/2016

Be a Book Influencer
Deborah Raney
7/15/2016

Finding Value Through Faith
Denae Haas
6/24/2016

Never Discredit Anyone (Especially God)
Eva Marie Everson
6/17/2016

The Quote for the Quarter Hour
Robert Benson
6/3/2016

Thank a Military Family
Andy Lee
5/27/2016

The Benefits of a Small Press
Eddie Jones
5/20/2016

12 Steps to Prevent Writer Burnout and Nurture Balance
DiAnn Mills
5/13/2016

Write Thoughtfully
Diana Flegal
5/6/2016

3 Keys to Writing Bible Studies that Sell
Andy Lee
4/29/2016

The Benefits of Writing Devotions
Ava Pennington
4/15/2016

A Different Perspective in Crafting Fiction
Steven James
4/8/2016

Some Miracles Take Time
Andy Lee
4/1/2016

A Tribute to Mary Sue Seymour
Andy Lee
3/25/2016

How to be an Influencer
Deborah Raney
3/18/2016

Why Platform is Important--Now I Know
Andy Lee
3/11/2016

4 Resources to Help Writers Write Well
Andy Lee
3/4/2016

What's in and What's Out in Publishing Workshop
Blythe Daniel
2/24/2016

How to Write for Children . . .
Michelle Medlock Adams
2/19/2016

Mistakes Made After Meeting with Agents & Editors
Blythe Daniel
2/17/2016

10 Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
Bethany Jett
2/15/2016

A More Than Enough Kind of God
Michelle Medlock Adams
2/12/2016

For Want of a Hook
Dan Walsh
2/10/2016

What Does a Writers Conference Chaplain Do?
Marti Pieper
2/8/2016

Author Marketing
Edie Melson
2/5/2016

Move Over Clark: The Basics of Journalism
Michael Ray Smith
2/3/2016

Tips to Get the Most Out of the Critique Track
Shellie Arnold
2/1/2016

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Critique Track?
Shellie Arnold
1/29/2016

An Introvert's Best Friend (Live Streaming)
Bethany Jett
1/27/2016

Who am I Writing For?
S. Kim Henson
1/25/2016

The Day I Decided to Keep Writing
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
1/22/2016

Invest in Your Writing
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
1/20/2016

Your Writers Conference Checklist
Andy Lee
1/18/2016

5 Reasons to Launch a Blog
Andy Lee
1/16/2016

Craft Fiction with Vivid Emotion
Tina Yeager
1/13/2016

Thoughts on being a Submissive Writer
Edie Melson
1/9/2016

How Fast Should Your Blog Grow?
Edie Melson
1/6/2016

The ART of Exceptional Editing
Deb Haggerty
1/4/2016

Happy New Year
Andy Lee
1/1/2016

Finding Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Mary Keeley
12/28/2015

Do Writers Need a Blog or Website?
Edie Melson
12/22/2015

"Second-Fiddle" Characters Play an Important Role
Tom Morrisey
12/16/2015

Let Them Eat Bread: An Editor's Thoughts on FCWC
Jesse Florea
12/14/2015

Preparing for Promotion
Michelle Medlock Adams
12/10/2015

Jesus Believed in the Power of Story
Dan Walsh
12/7/2015

How to Use Hashtags in Social Media
Edie Melson
12/4/2015

Where Writer Conference Connections Can Take You
Lindsey Brackett
12/2/2015

Why Should I Attend a Writers Conference?
Andy Lee
11/30/2015

How to Fight Discouragement... as a Writer
Andy Lee
11/23/2015

An Interview with Acclaimed Author, Robert Benson
Eva Marie Everson
11/18/2015

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Nonfiction Book
Kristin Stieffel
11/14/2015

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel
Kristin Stieffel
11/9/2015

Let God Define You
Michelle Medlock Adams
11/4/2015

10 Clues that You Are a Fiction Writer
Taryn Souders
10/31/2015

The Basics of a Book Proposal
Kristin Stieffel
10/27/2015

What To Wear at FCWC
Eva Marie Everson
10/23/2015

The Skinny on Business Cards
Andy Lee
10/15/2015

Just Do Your Part
Michelle Medlock Adams
10/12/2015

A Sneak Peek into a New Class at FCWC 2016
Shellie Arnold
10/2/2015

50 Reasons Why You Should Never Write
Pro Krasta Nation Publishers
9/28/2015

The Best First Step on Your Journey to Published
Eva Marie Everson
9/21/2015

10 "Not-So-Secret" Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
Bethany Jett
2/10/2015

Go Where God Leads
Allison Bottke
2/1/2015

Moving From Passion to Process
Ava Pennington
1/27/2015

Your Last First Conference
Kristen Hogrefe
1/19/2015

What Is Compel Training?
Suzie Eller
1/9/2015

That Agent Meeting
Tamela Hancock Murray
1/3/2015

Three Problems with Point of View
Kristen Stieffel
12/21/2014

How to Evaluate Your Options
Cheri Cowell
12/5/2014

Writing Effective Book Proposals
Jim Watkins
11/29/2014

Do the Math
Marti Pieper
11/21/2014

Becoming More Media Savvy
Natalie Gillespie
11/15/2014

The Perfect Book Pitch
Dawn Anderson
11/8/2014

Moved With Compassion
Diana Flegal
10/20/2014

Splickety In A Flash
Ben Wolf
10/9/2014

Look into Their Eyes: Why Editors Go to Writers Conferences
Ramona Richards
9/29/2014

A Writer's Life
Dan Walsh
2/21/2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Gutless
DiAnn Mills
2/20/2014

I Want 2 Write 4 Teens
Marti Pieper
2/13/2014

6 Things Writers Should NOT Say to Editors or Agents
Jevon Bolden
2/12/2014

Don't Be Labeled "Dead On Arrival"
Eddie Jones
1/30/2014

Imagine. Create. For a More Confident Faith
Lora Zill
1/28/2014

Burnout or Balance
DiAnn Mills
1/21/2014

Money Workouts for Writers
Ellie Kay
1/18/2014

The Tale of Three Authors
Cheri Cowell
1/10/2014

Three Questions, Three Answers
B.J. Taylor
1/7/2014

The Introvert's Guide to the Writers Conference
Marti Pieper
1/2/2014

After Your Meeting with an Editor or Agent
Blythe Daniel
2/23/2013

It's Headed Right Towards Us
Amber Weigand-Buckley
2/16/2013

So, Tell Me About Your Platform
Cheri Cowell
2/11/2013

How Will Readers Find Your Book...
Eddie Jones
2/1/2013

Tips For Coming to the FCWC From a Floridian
Cheri Cowell
1/26/2013

How to Write For Kids When ...
Michelle Medlock Adams
1/23/2013

Why Take the Chance?
Fay Lamb
1/7/2013

Having a Positive Influence
Deborah Raney
1/4/2013

Managing Your Time
Rusty Wright
12/29/2012

Are You Ready for the Conference?
W. Terry Whalin
12/26/2012

Devoted to Devotions
Ava Pennington
12/21/2012

A Different View of Story
Steven James
12/18/2012