Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
Art Linkletter is best remembered as a TV host from 1952 to 1970 during the golden days of television. He was also an award-winning author and motivational speaker. His fame came as a result of his famous House Party program. But it was the final segment of every show that is primarily remembered today. That segment was titled, "Kids Say the Darndest Things." This was the purest and sincerest form of entertainment for all ages to enjoy. With paternal friendliness and an engaging smile, Art would ask questions about what they thought, wanted, and observed from their unique perspectives. Their answers made for some of the funniest replies. Art's reactions to the children's responses were just as entertaining because he had to react as an adult and let the kids know it was OK to just be a kid. In 1957, Art published his first bestseller book, appropriately titled, "Kids Say the Darndest Things." It was a great read then and still is today if you can find it.
Now what made me think of Art Linkletter after so many years? Seeing other young children reminded me of the fun the kids had on the TV program. Specifically, two incidents occurred within two days here at home. The first was when I was taking our new child. Maggie, for a long walk through the woods. Eleven-week-old puppies need lots of exercise, and so does a sedentary owner. While in the woods, Maggie started noticing movement off to our side. I looked and saw a white blur, but nothing else for several moments. As the animal got closer, I could make out a small, darting white entity, and then there it was right in the middle of the walking trail – a ferret. I have since been informed that I saw an ermine. A what? I had to look it up, and sure enough, that's what it was. The specific, authoritative description is: "Ermine, (Mustela erminea), also called stoat, short-tailed weasel, or Bonaparte weasel, northern weasel species the genus Mustela, family Mustelidae. The species is called Ermine, especially during its winter white color phase." Nov 12, 2020, www.bitannica.com The Ermine was having fun playing hide-and-go-seek with Maggie and me for the remainder of our walk. The next example was Maggie herself. After all, puppies really are just canine children, right? Well, she had a case of the crazies right in the house. She had grabbed one of her toys and began a full-out run in a circle encompassing the living room, dining area, and kitchen. This went on for several minutes. Even when she wiped out on the hardwood floor, she just got up and continued on her mission. Eventually, she stopped, so pleased with herself, rolled over and went to sleep.
Here we are two weeks before Christmas. The anticipation for young ones everywhere is growing exponentially as the day gets closer. The signs are readily apparent. There are the continuing commercial sale ads, mailings advertising bargains too good to pass up – supposedly. There has been the season music for the past month and the sight of trees being carted atop vehicles that never imagined they would be used as Christmas tree conveyances. Then there is the explicit declaration of the season – Christmas decorations, inside and outside homes and businesses. There is a certain amount of mystique and amazement when seeing the creativity people have in their decorating. They can almost be seen as art forms. So it is that for the past several generations, a tradition has carried on throughout communities everywhere – the Christmas lights tour. That is where we, as children, were all piled into the family vehicle and toured the different neighborhoods to see all the Christmas light decorations on the houses. When we became older, wiser, and had children of our own, we did the exact same thing. One of my fondest Christmas season memories was while stationed in North Dakota in the 1990s. We had the privilege of taking an elderly woman from our church on a Christmas lights tour of the community. Usually, it would take an hour or so, but she had such a wonderful time that we slowed down and then reversed course for a
three-hour tour. She laughed and clapped her hands and told us stories of how farmers decorated during the Depression in the 1930s. She didn't talk about the apparent struggles of that time. She shared the joy of using whatever was at hand to celebrate the season.
This season is an excellent opportunity to let the children be children and enjoy the season's lights and sounds, no matter what age the child is. God intended and still wants us, as his children, to celebrate the season of the birth of his son, our savior, by laughing and clapping our hands in joy. There are some great light shows in the local communities and in your community. Enjoy,
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
1 John 1:5 (NIV)
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
May you be blessed by God's word. Chris