It’s that time of year when my mind can’t help but roll back in time to the long gone days of childhood. Maybe it’s because we put the tree up yesterday. Or maybe it’s because I ponder the memories of my children and now my grandchildren here. And that fake tree is a little more broken every year… like all of us with time, I suppose. It is a fallen world after all.

The pale yellow church with the white steeple located on Ramsey had a simple white sign with black letters that read, “First Southern Baptist Church”. That’s where I was baptized and learned John 3:16. Being that it was the late sixties, and violence was alive and well in Southern California, it didn’t take long to learn that they were spot on about it being a “Fallen world”.

image courtesy of churchproducts.com

When you grow up in a setting like that, old hymnals become part of your roots. They get memorized as easy as John 11:35; “Jesus wept”. We learned the words to Amazing Grace and Silent Night with ease. It would be decades before we actually listened and grasped them though. Music was part of church, along with the solos.

My brothers, who were about seven and four years older than me, respectively, my sister only had a year and a half on me, had a theory, or what might be better described as a suspicion or notion. They believed that Mrs. Buchanan was on a sorta pay to sing basis.

Mrs. Buchanan was responsible for more than a couple death stares, thumps on the head, and even some whippings from our dad when we’d laugh at how poorly Mrs. Buchanan sang. My brother Bobby still swears that trying not to laugh during her solos is how he learned to speed read.

That’s when my sister and I learned that if there was any hope of not laughing during a Mrs. Buchanan solo we couldn’t even glimpse at each other. My sister squeezing her mouth so that the sides of her lips touched, trying not to laugh, made me laugh out loud, then and just now. Memories are peculiar like that.

The Buchanan’s lived on top of a mountain north of town that overlooked the entire town. They drove a blue Lincoln Continental that had electric windows. From our perspective they were rich and could very well have paid enough in tithes to get her to sing whenever she wanted. It was, after all, a fallen world.

The Buchanan’s adopted three kids, all siblings, Donald was the oldest and according to him, Mrs. Buchanan was beyond a task master. She treated them like slaves. They were responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of their mini mansion on top of the hill that overlooked the rest of us.

Mrs. Buchanan’s solos came to and end… at the hands of her adopted oldest, Donald. He shot her in the head with a shotgun…

You can’t hide that kind of stuff from kids. Even when they’re in single digit years of age. We learn early in life that this is indeed a fallen world.

This time of year isn’t special for some folks. In this fallen world children will go hungry and be abused. There will be tears for some as they endure the season we cherish. This is the season for us to try and make a difference in this fallen world. And none of us have to look too far to find those in need.

Although my kids have had a life less exposed to the harsh realities of it at a young age, they too have learned that it’s a fallen world. But they, like we did, learned that despite the fallenness of this world, we have hope.

We have hope, or what is translated as “confidence”, in the Creator of life to keep His perfect Word this Christmas season. It’s in that knowledge we celebrate His perfect Gift and look ahead to perfection… from this fallen world.