Yes! Thatís surprise, and a hint of a smile, pictured on your reddening face. No, I havenít forgotten you. Iíve longed for you to discover me boxed in this corner.
Iíve always been hanging around even before you and your brother were born in that small rural farmhouse. I witnessed your mother and father weep and beam with joy as the two of you cried out to the heavens when the midwife slapped your pink bottoms. And I was there when your parents brought home your three sisters born at City Hospital. Each time, your parents thanked God and swore they would rear everyone as godly children.
Poverty rarely dented your parentsí faith. Can you believe your father eked out a living at a mere dollar an hour grading timber? He promoted education for the five of you nearly as much as he emphasized God. After all the children were enrolled in school, your father stepped up to $7 an hour when a manufacturing plant located in the county, and your mother cleaned rich folksí big houses. Poor or not, love was eternally present, whether playing softball, reading, or attending church.
You dwelt on the meager lifestyle but I always heard an abundance of laughter in that tiny home. Remember when the kids teased you in church for sitting real close to the little girl with blond pigtails? Or your oldest sister, when she was only in the fourth grade, outsmarting you in the elementary school spelling bee? How about your brother telling your Uncle Stan that he didnít want an education; that he wanted a vacation?
Sadly, there was the early morning I witnessed you discover your father pressing a long butcher knife against his bloated stomach. Your scream stopped him for a second and your prayerful pleas led him to drop the knife. By the grace of God, doctors discovered and successfully removed a benign tumor the size of a baseball. The incident brought the family ever more dependent upon each other and God.
But look at you today. Here you are a father and a grandfather! A request from your daughter has brought us face to face. She wanted you to locate an Advent banner she and her high school friends created. She plans to hang it in your grandsonís Sunday School classroom.
Minutes ago, my heart danced with glee as I watched you lift your daughterís purple graduation cap with a gold tassel out of this plastic storage box. Next was her high school annual with the purple binding and gold type. You paused a few moments to relive memories as you flipped through photographs of your daughter, now the mother of two.
Beneath the cap and yearbook was the purple Advent banner with Godís promises of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy in brilliant gold calligraphy. Remember all the giggling in your living room prior to Thanksgiving when your daughter and her friends cut and then ironed each felt letter onto the huge banner? Naturally, it was your wife who supervised while you occasionally looked up from the most recent How to Get Rich book you were reading.
Then, moments ago the unexpected discovery; you found me at the very bottom of the box. Iíve been here ever since your motherís death more than 20 years ago. Your wife never told you she placed me here; the memories were too overpowering to discard this weathered frame.
Iíve always known you would find me again. But you had to check out the world for yourself. Not to mention your pursuit of wealth, often abandoning your wife and daughter for days, if not weeks, at a time. You insisted on starting your own business. There wasnít room for me in your new custom built contemporary home. Not fancy enough I guess.
Is that a tear I see? Are you praying? Are you driving a nail into a picture hanger?
I am a simple print that decorated your childhood home, and now, youíre proudly hanging me in yours. I am a print depicting Jesus Christ in a purple robe cuddling a lamb. The true Jesus Christ has always been with you, and now, forgives you of your backsliding, and welcomes you home.
Donít I look magnificent?
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