Our family moved to Clovis in 1956. It was during those early years that I would ride with my daddy home at night after church and my mother and Susie would go ahead in their car. That was many years ago. The church is now in a different location and much different than it was in the 1950s. Memories of my childhood days and Sunday nights of long ago in the old church on Hinkle are still vivid in my mind.
I must have been about 8 years old. On this particular Sunday, the custodian was out of town so Daddy was locking up the church after the Sunday night worshipers had gone home.
Daddy had to turn all the lights off on that bottom floor of that old church. Turning off the lights in that basement and in the sanctuary took a few minutes. Daddy instructed me to wait in his office until he went through the sanctuary and into the kitchen area to turn the last of the lights off. But of course I had my own ideas. I decided to wander down the hall to meet him as he came up from the kitchen.
I started down the lighted hall. Yet, since the light switches that controlled the hall area were down where Daddy was, I suddenly found myself standing in the dark in a long hall. Then I heard sounds of footsteps coming down the hall in my direction and that scared me even more.
Suddenly from the dark hall a well-known figure came my way: it was Daddy! In the dark I recognized him immediately because of his walk and was I ever glad to see him. He asked me why I was so afraid.
Shaky still with fright I exclaimed, “Daddy it was dark … I didn’t know where you were!”
He held my little weak hand in his firm but loving hand, he turned the last of the lights off and he and I walked out the door and to the car. Down that darkened hall and out to the car I rested in complete confidence, peace and total trust because I was holding the strong hand of my father.
What message does that have for us at Christmas? Well, for 24 years since then, I have thought about the part God played in my life when my daddy died. The Christmas message reminds me again and again that our lives and times are in God’s hands.
That night long ago in Bethlehem, God came to us by sending his son Jesus.
What did that message mean to me 24 years ago when I lost my daddy?
He is a solid rock for all humanity. “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.” (2 Samuel 22:2)
He is a strong arm to help the helpless. “The Lord answered Moses, ‘Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.’” (Numbers 11: 23)
He is an advocate greater than any other power on earth. “My advocate is on high.” (Job 16:19)
He is a friend that is even closer than family. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18: 24)
He is the light of the world. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus is the light that lights to the dark corridors of our lives!
I trusted my father because he loved me. I trusted Christ to get me through the difficult time when my father died. That’s a Christmas message that is good all year round.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College.