Christmas season means lots of different things to lots of different cultures, but one thing seems to be fairly consistent. It is a time to give gifts.
When we think about that from a Christian perspective, the greatest gift ever given was the baby Jesus — God coming to earth to rescue man from the bondage of sin with the ultimate consequence of death. It is a priceless gift beyond anything we can comprehend and explain to others. To fully enjoy a gift one must unwrap it and embrace it and share it with others! One would most naturally be thankful to the giver for the precious gift and say so in many ways. We tell others about the rescue and that they can be rescued to, but some don’t even know they need to be rescued yet. To those friends we stand ready to share in more appropriate times as the door opens for us to share. This is an example of a gift that gives beyond life on this planet and steps into eternity.
I am going to tell you about a gift in my life that has given beyond the lifetime of the giver. You have them too, but maybe this will help you put them in perspective and treasure them all the more. Maybe this will help you package your gifts to others in such a way that they give beyond a lifetime. Give them the story that goes with the gift. Give them good memories. Give them a treasure of wisdom, a sparkle of imagination, a blessing that multiplies. Gifts of time and treasure accompanied with love and prayers are the best!
Back in the early 2000’s a good friend of mine who knew of my love for cats (he was a dog person), began sending me cat cartoons and cards rather routinely. They were often accompanied with the political wisdom of the day also, but that is another story. I always enjoyed the cards and cartoons and shared some further by email with personal notes back then. I saved them and realized at some point that I had quite a collection. It wasn’t until I started clipping and organizing them (with the help of another friend) that I realized how much time and treasure was in the gift of finding them and sending them to me originally. They turned into a cat cartoon album that sits on my living room coffee table and has brought many a smile to many a guest and of course to me.
In 2006 I had a foreign exchange student named Hanna, who did the cover artwork for me as a gift. She wonderfully captured the personality of my three cats Ivory, Ebony, and Peaches (L-R). Ivory was primping, Ebony had on a top hat, and Peaches while she has a halo on her head was sharpening her claws.
This year I scanned the pages and put the cartoon album online for my family for Christmas. Hanna’s artwork will be the cover online competing with the New Yorker cat cover on the album on my coffee table. I hope the smiles will multiply from generation to generation. There is nothing like the sparkle of light and laughter originally captured and put on paper by someone you love. The light bulb moment shared. The blessing multiplied.
Here is the album on scribd (and it is a work in progress). It is dedicated to our family pets through the years. There was Count, the pedigreed boxer and then Shadow, the miniature blue poodle and delight of my early years. Then there was Pierre, the gray tom cat; then Tina the long haired white and gray talker (with a special bird trill alert alarm). At the Caswell household, we have Calvin and Hobbes, the bengals — smart, playful, and cuddly too. Then there were the Garland ferrell cats — Auria, Melody, Jazz and more! And last but certainly not least the three pictured above, Ivory (blue eyed female with Siamese markings and playfulness too), Ebony (golden eyed black male love bug), and Peaches (green eyed Calico female with a love of running water).
Some of the cartoonists collected over the years and included are listed below:
Frank and Ernest
Mother Goose & Grimm
Rhymes with Orange
Rose is Rose
Communing with Cats — selected pages from Cat Fancy 2002
Super Bowl Commercial about Cat Herding – article from 2001
Cat and Fish Bowl ad from Washington Post
Share the laughter and enjoy!