Amanda Hopper Writes

A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

Month: December 2010

A View of Christmas From Atop a Hockey Puck

If you pass by the farm this week you will inevitably hear the tale-tell sounds of air hockey wars. The boys received a table for Christmas and all generations of the family can be seen acting like rabid hyenas in their attempt to secure the win.
Last night during a friendly game with Grant, I had a flash of realization as the hockey puck flew past my head and bounced off the wall:
Christmas time is like a game of air hockey…and I am the puck.
At first you are gliding along on the joy of the season, not a care in the world, then you get pushed a little faster by an office or class party. Suddenly your moving faster than you ever thought possible as commitments of the holidays send you bouncing off the edges, spinning so fast you can’t see where you are going.
People who are supposed to be friendly this time of year begin pushing and shoving, cursing and yelling in their irritation to “win” the game of gift-giving.
I suppose Christmas began as a hurried holiday. Mary and Joseph rushing to Bethlehem to beat the deadline on a declaration, scurrying faster as the contractions grew. The gift to the world was wrapped and packaged for the coming visitors. Presents were given and a gathering commenced. For a moment, a dirty barn was a palace for a king.
Not matter how much we prepare for the day, it comes and goes in an instant. We all thank God when it’s over as we put away the eighth load of dishes. But the birth of Jesus was not the end… it was the beginning. Maybe we should view Christmas as the beginning of a new year instead of the beloved New Year’s Day. Family ties have been renewed, thanks for blessings have been spoken…belts have been let out. The King has been born, salvation has come, let the hoping begin. 

The Porch Swing Perspective

What crosses your mind when you spot a porch swing? Do you find yourself sighing and unknowingly walking toward it? The worst of days are wiped clean with a few passes of the swing. The pain of the world seems less complicated from the painted wooden slats.
A creaky chain and a rainy day bring back some of my best memories. My childhood home had a porch swing and no matter how crazy my schedule became in high school, I would always take a moment to catch up with my Mom or Dad on the porch swing. Most of my best and worst conversations growing up took place there. Tears washed it’s wooden seat, laughter etched it’s chains, and hours spent upon it made love grow strong and deep with a high school boyfriend who would become my beloved husband.
We received a porch swing a couple of weeks ago as a present, for our own front porch. Ian loves to use it as a human catapult. Sam loves to discuss the meaning of life and swing. Grant can usually be found finishing his homework on it. Time and memories were the real gift.
Time slips away quickly and silently. It must be held at bay with determination to not miss a single minute with loved ones. The porch swing is like a secret gift from God that slows time and erases busy schedules. It opens hearts and widens eyes as they look out on the beauty Heaven has provided for no other reason than to be gazed upon.