By MAE BABER R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin
It is a startling thing in life to face the fact that one will soon be fifty years of age and then to realize that time will keep on creeping up on us and there is not one thing we can do about it. Suddenly we are aware that youth is gone. Our vigor has decreased to some extent and will keep on decreasing. We realize that with no dignity can we attempt to hold onto youth. Those who try to put it on the outside resemble silly clowns.
But here it is. What are we to do with it? We can pretend that fifty doesn't exist, but, nevertheless here it is. Now that we have more time for ourselves we can expend it on ourselves and become smugly miserable. It will only make our sagging muscles less elastic.
On the other hand, we can, with some thought give of our experience to others. We can meditate more fully on deep thoughts. We have time to strengthen neglected faith. We can reach out a hand to the needy, and we can carry on family traditions which make life meaningful.
How much there is to pass on to our children! By this time we should have taught them to take over where we are slowing down. We can let it be known that we hope they will carry on certain of our traditions as they raise families of their own. Often these have become so dear to them that we need not remind them. I can not bring back my Grandmother's quilt, patched together of pieces of my little girl dresses and various family aprons under which my sister and I snuggled on cold winter mornings. I can still see the paths we traced from dress to dress and apron to apron amidst girlish giggles. I can, however take my new automatic sewing machine and turn out miracles in their eyes. Why do we sometimes become almost maudlin in our memories of childhood and fail to recognize the memory material right at our own fingertips.
Our gleaming white kitchens, or our softly colored ones are attractive enough for them to cherish. I can't say I miss the coal bucket being tipped over by the baby.
Suppose you should plan some new things for the winter ahead. If one lives in a warm climate perhaps it could be an annual trip into the mountains to find a bit of snow or hold a pancake or sausage fry. Did you ever heat flat stones in a fire and fry pancakes and sausage on them? We did, and it was great fun. One family I know of has a custom which they observe every Christmas eve. They serve cocoa and sandwiches on trays around the Christmas tree. Our daughter told me about it and we did it last year. She was thrilled.
One of my nephews and his family have another quite different tradition. This January or February why don't you say to your growing boys and girls-or perhaps your grandchildren -'Why don't we build the biggest snow man you ever saw?' I'll wager you will get cooperation. This is what my nephew does and they have had some beauties. The one they built last winter reached higher than the porch roof and wore a swanky bushel basket hat with a cardboard brim. He was quite a debonair gentleman. Children love the security of a good tradition combined with interesting activity. How nice it is when the man of the family enters into this wholeheartedly. When we have holiday guests out family man loves to lift the covers of the kettles on my white range and virtually 'see what's cookin' '! I wouldn't miss that for the world.
How wonderful it is when 'the man at our house' is a real family man. Did you ever really consider the Supreme Family Man of all time? Perhaps Christ is not often spoken of by this title. But remember how He has provided a beautiful home in heaven for all who will accept and serve Him. It surpasses anything we have here on earth. And aren't we well provided for here? He has made it a happy home. There will be no tears there. It will be a cheerful, joyous place for He will be the light of it. He will have family gatherings for He has already planned and told us about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. There He will gather His children around Him.
He is an understanding Father for He knows we need to have our dreams and sometimes even the fulfillment of of them. Maybe I will have a golden typewriter on the other side.
David was a dreamer, and in spite of his failure, he was a chosen man to bring us the Psalms. Where can one duplicate their beauty and comfort.
Joseph was a dreamer who carried out the tasks in God's scheme of things. Our Bible tells us, 'Without vision my people perish.' Surely we need a vision of Christ as the Supreme Family Man. Wouldn't it revolutionize our family thinking? If we were truly to invite Him to our family gatherings they would be blessed indeed. It would hardly be fitting to have Him in for cocktails, for the conversation would be too inane and meaningless.
When one looks around at the present social structure we have cause to be concerned. It contains 3,000,000 alcoholics in America and 3,000,000 more problem drinkers. They didn't become that way on sound family traditions or Christian principles.
Here in our blessed America we have such a priceless heritage. Surely you and I don't want to help America to get on the skis which will take her down to the foot hills of ruination. I just can not believe that we are not made of better stuff than that. I don't want to think that moral decay and wantonness in spending are going to be America's burial ground.
The sad thing is that we have only to look at history to find that it has ever been thus. So many great empires have risen and fallen. None but ours was so firmly grounded on religious freedom, the rights of the individual, and the spiritual duty to preserve our land. Surely we should so cherish it that we could hand to our children a solvent land in which to nurture and sustain their offspring from the wells of righteousness pure water. 'Oh God! To where have we fallen?'
There is no time for theological differences. There is no time to waste on political prattle. If ever America needed prayer it is at this moment, prayer that God will raise up men to the defense of our liberty, men to quell the sin of our extravagance, and men who will rise above the appetites of flesh, glory and indifference. It is a task for each 'family man'. Our America, LET US PRAY!