Christmas Memories – Advent Devotion
December 2, 2020
Christmas Day 1983
My wife Kathy introduced this 1983 Christmas for the two of us in her devotion yesterday, “A Disney Christmas Surprise.” Today, I want to share with you, as newsperson Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.”
So, if you read yesterday’s Advent devotion, you know I surprised Kathy on Christmas Eve with a trip to Disney World on Christmas Day. We did get up at 5 a.m. and headed to Disney. We had an 8 a.m. breakfast reservation at the Polynesian hotel.
The temperature had dropped quite a bit on Christmas Eve from 70 degrees during the day to the high 30’s during our 5 a.m. drive. When we got to the Polynesian hotel, we noticed it was quite chilly in the restaurant. Before the server brought our coffee, we saw that employees were folding tablecloths lengthwise and placing them on top of all the air returns along the perimeter of the room. And when our server brought our coffee, we notice it was steaming quite a bit.
I asked our server why it was so cold in the hotel. He told me that because of the cold temperatures (something we’re not used to in Florida), a 16″ hot water pipe had burst, so there was no heat. Luckily within a few minutes, we heard a loud sound like an engine starting. It was the heat coming back on because the pipe had been repaired.
After breakfast, Kathy and I headed over to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail. It was quite busy in the park. Everyone, including ourselves, was bundled up, as the wind chill in the Magic Kingdom at noon, when the Christmas parade began, was 25 degrees.
In 1983 the Christmas parade was telecast live on television, and the Christmas day parade went up Main Street instead of down it. We watched the procession of floats, including Santa; we even saw Regis Philbin, who was one of the on-street reporters that year. After the parade, most people tried to get further into the park to enjoy rides. Kathy and I were trying to leave the park to meet some friends at Epcot. It was quite a struggle to get out of the Magic Kingdom that day. We still have a copy of the 1983 Orlando Sentinel paper. If you look really closely on the front page, there is a photo where you can see me pulling Kathy through the crowd towards the exit. We finally made it out of the Magic Kingdom and headed over to Epcot.
To say it was cold was an understatement. When we entered Epcot, there was almost no one in the park. The wind was whipping throughout the park, and the wind chill was now about 20 degrees. The funniest thing we saw that day was employees wrapping all of the palm tree’s bases with burlap, so they wouldn’t die from the cold.
Kathy and I made our way back to Italy and the restaurant (Alfredo’s) we were meeting our friend Jacque and his wife at. We had a wonderful late lunch with them. It was so cold, still, almost no one in the park, that we decided to go on one attraction, leave and get to our warm hotel room.
That was a great Christmas for Kathy and me. We have now come full circle. Back in 1983, it was just the two of us. It was five years before we adopted our daughter Heather, and five years before we joined the Lutheran church. Now, with both of us retired, my daughter living three hours away, it’s once again, just the two of us.
Do you remember the old Paul Stookey song, “The wedding song,” or as some call it, “There is love.”? One of the most famous lyrics from the song says;
“For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is love, there is love.”
Those words are an indirect quote from the Bible. The Bible verse says,;
“For where two or three gather in My Name, there I am with them.”
“There, I am with them.” As a Christian, I firmly believe that God is love. So, I guess Paul Stookey got it right. Wherever two or more are gathered In His (Jesus’) name, there is love.
Although Kathy and I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we do know that Jesus is with the two of us, and there is love. It doesn’t matter if we’re at Disney, having coffee at Starbucks, or sitting home watching a Hallmark movie; there is love when we are together. Love from God, and love for each other.
Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing love back into the world. You are the epitome of love because you sacrificed yourself for Kathy, me, and all of mankind. We love you for all you do for us every day. Amen