Friday, July 24, 2015

The Curse of the Blue Icing

Kyle, Julie, and C.C. Partin

This is a photo of the Partins. The beautiful brown-haired girl, is my oldest daughter, Julie. The absolutely gorgeous little girl is my granddaughter, C.C.. The dude is Kyle my son-in-law. I give Kyle a hard time. I tease him continuously. I joke with him constantly. Incessant teasing and joking is a generational family flaw. I inherited this genetic defect from my father. It is our familial misguided way.

Over the years, Kyle has transitioned from level to level in my family - from Julie’s college friend, to Julie’s boyfriend, to Julie’s fiancĂ©e, to Julie’s husband, to the father of my granddaughter. I have pulled Kyle’s leg every step of the transition. I wanted to tell you a story about a Sallee family Christmas tradition. Maybe this Christmas time story will take an edge off the stifling summer heat. Maybe you will decide to start a Christmas family tradition. Both of these options are good.

When our kids were younger we had a set of Christmas traditions that were better for young kids (icing sugar cookies, tree decorating, singing carols, etc.). As our kids aged our traditions became more mature. Carol and I agreed to start a new Christmas tradition. It was Carol’s idea. Each Christmas one member of the family would take their turn to design and make a homemade Christmas ornament. The ornament would come with a devotional which that year’s family member would present. We started that tradition from the oldest to the youngest then we would start the rotation over again.

As our daughters met and married really good Christian men, we decided that they would present the ornaments and devotionals as family units. We didn’t want to put any new in-laws on the spot and make them feel uncomfortable their first Christmas at out house. Kyle was the first outsider to participate in the Sallee family tradition. It would have been expected for him to watch at allow Julie to take the lead. She had experienced this Christmas tradition many times. As a biological family member and oldest daughter, our artistic daughter Julie had created ornaments and led devotionals. Why would Kyle want to subject himself to the scrutiny and teasing of the Sallee family?

I must admit I was surprised when Kyle jumped at the opportunity to create an ornament and lead the devotional. The ornament he made was a beautiful display of a baby bird leaving the nest. He hung the ornament on the Christmas tree. He explained how he felt honored to be trusted to lead his new family in California. He agreed that he knew how difficult it must be for us to watch our little bird fly to California. Then he jumped up and ran upstairs. I was thinking to myself. “Where was he going? Did he exit prematurely out of fear and embarrassment? Is the devotional over? It was going so well.” Just then Kyle returned with a guitar. He asked us to sing with him a song we had never heard. Our part was “Ooh.” He nailed it! We weren’t too bad either. You can hear the song Kyle led in the video below. You can read the lyrics too.

"It Don't Have To Change" John Legend and the Stephens Family

Oh do you remember (ooh) When the family was everything? (ooh) Oh do you remember? (ooh) It was so long ago and so much has changed (ooh) I wanna go back (go back...ooh) Wanna go back to those simple days (ooh) I wanna go back (go back...ooh) But now we've grown and gone our separate ways

(aah) Times is hard (times is hard) And things are a changin' I pray to God That we can remain the same All I'm trying to say is our love don't have to change No it don't have to change

Do you remember (ooh) Back at Grannie's house on Christmas Day? (ooh) Help me sing... Do you remember (ooh) How we'd gather 'round and sing all day? (ooh) I wanna go back (go back...ooh) To playing basketball and football games I wanna go back (go back...ooh) To yesterday but it's not the same

Times is hard (times is hard) And things are a changin' I pray to God That we can remain the same All I'm trying to say is our love don't have to change No it don't have to change

Times is hard (times is hard) And things are a changin' So I pray to God That we can remain the same All I'm trying to say is our love don't have to change No it don't have to change

Needless to say tears followed the devotional. The tears were mixed. Some were sad tears because we love these little birds so much and they have flown to another nest. Some were tears of joy because our little birds have found godly husbands to lead them to become godly families. Some were tears of worship because, no matter how far away these little birds live, “our love don't have to change.”

Kyle did that Christmas day what every father must one day do. He swallowed his pride, he took a risk, he climbed out on a limb and focused our hearts where they belong. The ornament is hung in the tree each and every Christmas. I will never forget that devotional.

Thank you Kyle for leading my daughter well. Thank you for being a great example to me. Thank you for tolerating my teasing and jokes. I am thankful for you more everyday.

Dr. Phil Sallee, Pastor

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