Author: Michael Bannon

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For God’s Sake: Don’t do without thinking first

An essential industry tool back when I worked as an animator was the character sheet. The character sheet displayed sketches of the cartoon character we were animating.

The character designer produced it to show the animator what the character should look from different angles, in different poses and emotions.

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Faith in Review: Churches changed in 2020

A bizarre year that all would love to forget, but none ever will, is behind us. It was a year when two alphabet’s worth of tropical systems assaulted the Gulf states, persistent wildfires scorched the western states, and massive tornadoes ripped through the Midwest.

Seamy political ads and noisy debates assailed our sensibilities and culminated in a hotly contested election.

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For God’s Sake: Free TV for price of kindness

My wife and I had a strange, wonderful experience recently. I was working from home when our doorbell rang. What used to be a childish prank – ring a doorbell then run away – is now the norm for package deliverers. I opened the door and propped up against the wall was an enormous, thin box. It was a 50-inch flatscreen TV. I hadn’t ordered a flatscreen TV.

I stared at the box thinking through the possibilities. A Christmas gift from my wife? No, we have no room for a TV that large. I checked the shipping label. The addressee was a name I did not know. The address looked like ours, “6455,” but with the poor print quality, it could have been “6466,” hence the delivery error. My smartphone said that “6466” was a mere 150 feet to my west. It was now dark and cold outside, so I brought the TV inside, threw on a coat and started up the street. I walked west, retraced my steps, then walked east. My phone lied, there is no 6466.

My wife is more resourceful in such matters, so she took up the quest when she arrived home from work. First, she snapped a photo of the shipping label and enlarged it. It read “6455,” which made the delivery even more strange. An online search of the addressee yielded a possibility. My wife fired off an appropriately cryptic note to the person on Nextdoor and on Facebook Messenger. No response. Studying the shipping label, she noticed a 10-digit number under the address. A phone number? She tried the number, gave me a smile, and left an explanatory message in a voicemail. A short time later, we got a call back.

The flatscreen was a gift from her mother for one of the grandkids, the caller explained and, yes, they used to live at our address but had moved two years ago. Even though “mom” had been to their new home at Thanksgiving, she still had the TV delivered to the old address. “My mom could get lost in a closet,” the caller chuckled and then offered to send her husband over to pick up the TV. My wife then asked that all-important Christmas question, “Is this gift supposed to be a surprise?” It was. “Do you want us to keep it here until Christmas?”

“You would do that for us?!” the caller asked. “Yes, thank you!” After more friendly small talk, the caller added, “You’ll probably get another delivery tomorrow.”

We did – another 50-inch flatscreen.

Some 2,000 years ago, God surprised the world with a gift on its doorstep, God the son, come in human flesh, born as a baby. God had promised to send a redeemer; the surprise was that the redemption the redeemer would bring required his death. Christ Jesus died for sin then God raised him from the dead so that whoever would put their faith in Christ alone would be saved from the judgment and have eternal life with God. Friends, the gift of Christmas is the Christ of Christmas. Trust in him.

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For God’s Sake

I am from Canada where, as I say far too often to my wife, we speak the Queen’s good English. The first time she met my family, she was slightly intimidated by their precise diction and greatly amused by their accents and “quaint” vocabulary.

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On a mission to serve

It’s 9 a.m. on a Tuesday and the doors of Waterfront Thrift Store in Gulf Breeze are open for business. George and Sylvia Fleetwood of Navarre tuck their car into a parking spot as other locals arrive to shop for bargains while helping a worthy cause.

But the Fleetwoods are not there to shop; they have come to serve as volunteers.

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Let’s say grace

The second annual “Grace’s Place Family Dinner” was held outdoors the afternoon of Nov. 1 on the grounds of Covenant Community Church in Navarre.

A crowd of about 50 attended, with several participating in the featured event, a chili and soup cookoff. The winners were Wendy Justice for the best soup and Alex Ramirez for the best chili, each of whom took home a large gift basket.

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For God’s Sake

There is a dog food commercial that makes me laugh. It begins with slow-motion footage of a sleek wolf bounding through the woods. The wolf leaps effortlessly over a log but then mid-leap, is transformed into a golden retriever that nails the landing and bounds off.

A voiceover explains that inside every dog there is the spirit of a wolf, so buy this company’s dog food. What makes me laugh is that, nearby, our “wolf,” a 15-year-old, 20-pound snaggle of fur, is laying on the floor snoring loudly and sporting a “male wrap,” which is kind of a doggie diaper.

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