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My Favorite Guns: Christmas of ’75

April 28, 2015

My Marlin Golden 39M Scout, with added scope. My favorite gun to this day.

Just for a change of pace, I thought I would write a series about guns. I’m an enthusiast, no where close to being an expert, but I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment appreciating a good quality firearm and some of the great times that I often associate with shooting. Whether it’s plinking at tin cans, hunting or going out to the gun range and shooting a couple of rounds of skeet, some of the best times I’ve had have been while participating in these activities, especially with my sons. How does this relate to my faith? God is the creator of all things and creating is one of His primary activities:

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (NASB)

Genesis 1:26 – “…Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (NASB)

John 1:3 – All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (NASB)

Out of all of God’s creations, only man was created in the image or “likeness” of God, and even in our fallen state, the ability to imagine, design and build a complex piece of machinery is a testament to this fact and it brings glory to The Creator, even if the image bearer never intended for God to receive glory through his effort.

In the same way that God enjoyed His creation (Genesis 1:31), we can enjoy the things built as a result of man’s God-given abilities and give glory to God and enjoy the fruits of God’s creation. In the same way God has given us these good gifts for us to enjoy in a way that gives God glory, we can use these things to bless others in ways that we might never fully understand.

Christmas Morning, 1975

December 25, 1975 was a fairly typical Christmas day with my family. Even though I was 14 years old, Christmas still held a special mystery for me. Maybe because I was the youngest of 4 siblings, it always seemed like something extra special would happen that justified the waiting and the wondering. My oldest brother was still single and he was there early that morning. He may have spent the night but I can’t be certain. As was typical in our household, there were unwrapped presents under the tree that morning marked “From Santa” even though it had been several years since anyone believed in Santa Claus. Once we worked through the unwrapped gifts and everyone had opened the wrapped gifts, we would usually go around and admire the other items that family members had received. My mom and dad would usually refill their coffee and someone would tell a harrowing shopping story about how they stood in line for a long period of time and the item they wanted to buy was sold out right as they were approaching the front of the line, or some other typical, urban “adventure.” At some point there would be a lull in the conversation and then everyone would spring into action, putting up their gifts or gathering up wrapping paper. My mom would usually go back in the kitchen to work on the Christmas feast. On this particular Christmas, that lull had arrived and I thought my dad was going to instruct us to start the clean up process. Instead, he looked at me with no expression on his face and said: “I think you might have one more present, why don’t you go look in my closet.” I leapt up with nervous excitement and ran back to my mom & dad’s bedroom and opened the door to my dad’s perfectly organized closet. There was never anything out of place in my dad’s closet. It was a picture of precision with everything always in its place and every inch of space utilized perfectly. This made it quite easy to spot the one item that was out of place: a short, army-green, rifle case. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I grabbed the heavy, canvas case and ran back into the den where my dad and the rest of the family was waiting. My dad was grinning from ear to ear and my mom looked as surprised as I was when she saw what I had retrieved from dad’s closet. I was so excited that I unzipped the case while holding it upside down and out slid the most beautiful gift I had ever received: A Marlin, Golden 39M Scout, lever action, .22LR, rimfire rifle.  I was joyously stunned and my mom was slightly dismayed that my dad had given me a gun. I think my dad enjoyed the consternation of my mom almost as much as he enjoyed my rapturous delight. My oldest brother then gave me a 500 round brick of Winchester, Super-X .22LR ammunition. My dad helped my oldest brother do his shopping that Christmas Eve and they had stopped in at a Service Merchandise. My dad had seen me ogle the .22 rifles there on more than one occasion and they just happened to have the Marlin 39M on sale. This was the rifle I had admired above all the others and never thought I would actually own one. Especially not in 1975!

An Act of Grace, Borne from Love

1975 was the culmination of a series of 4 or 5 rough years in a row for me. My dad and I had a rocky relationship at the time, primarily because of my rebellion. I was especially surprised by my dad’s kindness given this dynamic in our home. My dad demonstrated grace to me. I didn’t deserve it and actually deserved just the opposite. My dad, while I was yet in rebellion to him, showed his love for me by this simple act of grace: he gave me a material possession that I wanted, probably more than any other, and showed me that he was going to love me even through my acts of rebellion. I professed faith in Christ a few months later and my life changed dramatically because of the transforming power of the Gospel. I can’t help but think that God used this act of love to prepare my heart for the truth of the Gospel.

How much more has God demonstrated His love for His children;

Mathew 7:11

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (NASB)

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB)

  1. What scope did you mount on that beauty?

    • It’s just a cheap, 4x Cabela’s rimfire scope for plinking. I think I actually like the iron sights better, it’s just that the older I get, the less effective I am with iron sights. Eyes just aren’t what they used to be.

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