A way to Remember Papa on Christmas

 

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In the Grief Through the Holiday blog I mentioned how my father loved Christmas and that he would make up fun clues for a scavenger hunt for a special gift each year.  Dad liked to spread out the gift giving time as long as he could.  My grandparents lived too far away for us to see everyone all in one day so it was always just the four of us on Christmas.  This is not a tradition I have taken on for my girls as we cram three Christmas’ into one day so time has always been a factor.  This year my youngest asked that I do clues for a gift like Papa.  With this being our first Christmas without our beloved Papa I decided to grant her wish and to make the clues a walk down memory lane as a tribute for Papa!  I thought I would share on the blog for anyone who knew and loved my dad.  It has been helpful in our grief to include his memory and what he stood for on this special day as well.

1. As requested, this is the very beginning of your Christmas mission.  A path that will  involve Papa’s memory to vision.  As you search remember the hunt itself was inspired by this man.  A man who loved Jesus, his family, people, Christmas, and he taught about God’s plan.  The first stop will be something that represents his roots and how he got the “Clark” label.  This stop will become very apparent find it if your able.  The next clue can be found underneath a table.

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These tables were my father’s parents.  He was going to take the wood from these and make gifts in his wood shop from them.  I am getting ready to paint them and give them new life in their original state as tables.

2. Wow you two are pretty swift.  Your next clue can be found with Mom’s last Papa gift.

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Just a couple weeks before he passed dad gave my sister and I each a set of these for our birthdays.  He had made the handles from wood from another table of Grandma and Grandpa Clark’s.

3.  This clue my dears was Papa’s guide through his life’s journey as he trod.   I pray that for your lives you also will fully rely on the Word of God.

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This was one of many of my father’s Bibles.

4. Papa was quite the story teller and craftsman that is no fable.  This clue can be found with this forty year old Clark built cradle.

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My father built this cradle for my 2nd Christmas.  He made things to last that is for sure!!

5. This game is serious there is no time for tomfoolery.  Find your next hint with mom’s junk jewelry.

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My jewelry and music box he built when I was a kid.

6. Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.  Ah but there use to be a lot of noise coming from this little house.

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I mentioned the playhouse in the Grief Through the Holiday blog as well.  Built and rehabbed twice by Papa.  Now in the state of needing work again.  About 8 years ago he said this was the last time he was going to fix it up…

7. Thankfully this mission has no threat of danger.   Under a shelter built by Papa you will find the Greatest Gift and True Reason laying in a manger.

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Their gifts were found under the stable behind Jesus.  The stable was built by Papa for our outdoor Nativity set.  Gifts are fun, but fleeting.  There is only one gift that lasts for eternity and that is God’s gift of His Son.

My sister had also done a hunt for her children and our youngest made a special clue hunting game for my gift as well.  The gift from my children and husband will be another blog!   Here is a picture of our daughter’s clues!   What a fun way we will remember our beloved Papa on Christmas!  His favorite time of the year!!

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Grief and the Holidays

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For the first time in my life I have been dreading Christmas to a certain extent.  It will be the first Christmas without my father.  My father was Mr. Merry Christmas.  He absolutely loved everything about Christmas and it was the time of year the child in him shone the brightest.  It was very important to him to make sure his wife and daughters had a special Christmas every year even when the budget was very slim.  He always had a mystery gift that he wrote silly rhyming clues for us to follow in our search for this mysterious prize.  He spent hours making gifts in his wood shop and writing his clever clues through the years.

It was extremely important to him for the true reason for the celebration of Christmas to be remembered.  He wore and gave away buttons that said “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “Merry Christmas” on them.  In fact we had instructions to have “Keep Christ in Christmas” carved into his tombstone.  The fact that God so humbly came to this earth as a baby to ultimately die for us to save us from our sins was overwhelmingly awesome to my father.  He would be so giddy, joyful, and generous because of truth in the reason for celebrating Christmas.  It is Jesus’ birthday!!

We are starting some new traditions this year with helping mom carry on dad’s Christmas legacy.  I must admit yesterday when decorating in my own home I felt grumbly and grouchy doing so.  One ornament at a time my youngest daughter and I got it done.  With each ornament there was greater ease in hanging the next.  With grief sometimes it is one breath at a time and in this case it was one ornament at a time.  Today my sister and her family and my family all joined forces to help mom get dad’s outside decorations up and to decorate the inside Christmas tree.  A display for the neighborhood to remember that it is Jesus we celebrate and why.

I sat down to help get ornaments out of boxes for the kids to hang and opened the ornament pictured above.  Inside the box remained the gift tag.  “To: Dad, From:Anita”  The year of the ornament was 1998.  This was the year before Mike and I were married.  Before I even knew I would have two daughters.  I had forgotten all about that ornament and the fact that it was perfect for my dad.  My father had built a little playhouse for my sister and I when we were little girls.  It was made mostly from scrap wood and had gingerbread style décor much like this ornament.  At that time I wouldn’t have known that my father would rehab this little playhouse two more times for my own children.  In the year of 2014 this ornament has even deeper significance.

For families who are grieving it is impossible to fill the missing space that is there.  Lives that make such an impact on their families and circle of influence are never really gone.   Hold your families close and make wonderful memories.  Love and be generous to all people.  Most of all remember that God loved us so much to send His One and Only Son and that is why we celebrate!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

This everlasting life that God gives is the reason to celebrate Jesus.  Because of Jesus I will get to see my father again!

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