Pondering death while watching the tree lighting

A Word to the Wise
By: Tom Rupp
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Whatever the “spirit of Christmas” is, I am not in it yet. That’s OK, but there are only two weeks left until the big day. It’ll be here and gone before you know it. Every year there is one tradition we like to observe — attending the annual tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Folsom. This year was no different. The weather was great, but a tad bit cool. Once again a crowd of folks filled the street. Dave Bender is becoming a fixture at this event. And before long the tree glowed with lights. Then we went to the nearby art gallery and got a hot chocolate and piece of gourmet chocolate cake. Traditions are fun things to begin and maintain. They lend a bit of stability and reflection to your life. Well, we got the cocoa but they no longer sell the cake. We also have been going every Tuesday to get 49 cent tacos at a local eatery. We’ve been going for over 12 weeks now. Talk about traditions. Anyway, another year has passed and I didn’t ride the horse cart. Every year I decide that this is the year to ride the horse cart. And every year I chicken out. Maybe next year. There on Sutter Street it was “snowing.” My guess is that it was soap flakes blowing from the roof of a restaurant. Still, it was fun. We also met Cocoa, a nice brown dog. We left our dog Hooch at home. Perhaps we should have brought him this year, because Hooch is dying. The vet X-rayed a mass on his spleen this summer and it probably won’t be long for the old boy. So he’s been living high on the hog, eating cooked chicken every day. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and next-door neighbor have all had to put their dogs down this year. We’ve been mentally preparing for our day. Come to think of it, we are all dying, are we not? Are we preparing for that day? As Longfellow said, “Our hearts like muffled drums are beating, funeral marches to the grave.” Hope these thoughts are not too morose for you in this season of joy and happiness and good tidings and such. But that’s the point for the Christian, isn’t it? Jesus came to bring life (John 10:10). People die. Everyone dies. One day we too will die. Therefore, in the meantime we live, and live for God. And walk our dying dogs. Tom Rupp is a Bible Teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at or through his blog at