Holiday memories offer moment of peace

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

As I write this column the day before Christmas, I am thinking about the changes in our world since our children were small. Many things have changed. Christmas presents for kids have changed. Annie and Buffy both went through a time when they wanted Cabbage Patch Kids. I remember frantic days right before Christmas when I could only locate one doll. I remember I managed to find one at the last minute and Christmas that year turned out fine. Those dolls were the thing that year, and to find a Cabbage Patch Kid was a true victory. Other Christmas gifts of their childhood come to my mind: Holly Hobby pajamas, Transformers, Atari Video Games and Beanie Babies.

Oh yes, thoughts of these gifts bring back Christmas seasons of long ago when our children were in grade school and the days were innocent and I could easily protect them. Those were the days: Zia school, church choir programs, report cards that needed to be signed, parent conferences, “the Shooters” (Annie’s 5th grade basketball team), Clovis Municipal Golf Course where John Scott practically lived, swimming at the “Y” and Centrifuge at Glorieta.

As I stand at the end of the year 2007, all these places and memories seem so far away but yet so enduring in my mind, and I realize that times have really changed. With that said, our world today is much different. We are consumed with other issues these days. When the news is filled with topics like weapon build-up and a country reactivating its nuclear capabilities, I find a sense of escape thinking about Christmases of long ago.

During this Christmas season, I am really aware of the very wide chasm that separates my grown children’s childhood world from this present one. We are consumed with other issues these days. I read with sadness about the church in Denver torn by murder and how their pastor is trying to lead the church to start anew. With missing teens, hideous crimes that make our news and drugs and gangs and the like, I find a sense of escape looking at the girls’ old Cabbage Patch Kids. When news of high- priced gasoline and health insurance costs are rising with the New Year, I see the simplicity in a child’s allowance. When I read that the FBI is preparing a vast database of biometrics so people’s physical characteristics can be chronicled for quick identification of anyone around the world, I remember that our children had no idea what the word “terrorist” meant.

Yes we face uncertain times. The first step for the New Year 2008 is to trust Christ as Savior. When we face anything unknown, direction, peace and comfort is always available to us from God. The second thought is to know that God is in control, even in what we do not know and what we do not understand. I am assured that God, who sees and knows all hearts of men and women, looks down in sorrow at the predicament of our world. When will he decide that time will be no more? No one knows; we can only be prepared. Jesus himself said: “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour and a moment when you do not anticipate it” (Luke 12:40).

When that time comes, the war in Iraq, kidnapped and missing children, drugs and gangs and terrorist activity will cease to be problems. Jesus Christ will take care of all matters, whether in the hearts of men or in the circumstances of our lives.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: