Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pondering Christmas 2017

Been pondering how vital the first Christmas is to our faith, that long ago birth of Jesus - the divine entrance of God as a human being into our world. Everything became different from then on. Jesus was, is, and will always be truly the Change-maker.

Since Christ's birth, God is not, and need never be, distant from us. Jesus understood human frailty and broke the inevitable sin connection we had. The birth of Jesus initiated a divine cleansing – God showed His willingness to live not only among us, but within us.

Lest we forget…
The Holy Spirit is the Helper Jesus promised us for today and all our tomorrows giving ongoing gifts that bless us daily as we keep them open and available - Holy Spirit treasures of fortitude (courage), long-suffering  (patience), wisdom, piety, reverence for the Lord, counsel (intuition), and understanding. It’s these precious gifts that empower us to live with joy exploding in our souls through all the whatevers of life!

On a personal note:
We began 2017 in Florida enjoying three months in Venice living on the ocean.  Walking the beach, reading, writing, golf and dancing to local bands are favorite activities there. We had delightful visits from our daughter Pam and her husband John and several couples’ friends. And traveled to Fort Lauderdale, FL to see our daughter Tamara who enjoys life there.

In April we returned to our house in the woods of Fontana WI, which we treasure more every year –the birds and squirrels know us by name. Major house projects - re-carpeting and new windows - filled our time. Then over a dozen out of town speaking and book-signing events where I was privileged to tell the story of the Gospel and relate God’s miracles in our lives.

In between came writing and editing my next mystery novel with my publisher Pelican (The Windemere Affair) along with distribution and promotion of previous books on marriage, parenting and inspirational novels. In my blog, Thoughts on Fun, Faith and Family, I like to encourage families to maximize their lives together.

To my delight Wayne became an author also this past year sending out
daily reflections to our family and some friends at their request. I hope to compile them into a book this year. They’re really outstanding – I’m beyond proud of him.
The end of July Wayne was diagnosed with an aorta aneurysm to our great shock because he had no symptoms. After two months getting a second opinion, other procedures and pre-op tests he had aorta repair and by-pass surgery on September 26 followed by home health care nurse visits and three months of cardiac rehab.

Wayne is recovering well and can play golf again, although he’s still rebuilding his stamina. We both exercise together at our local athletic club and dance as often as we can. We’re glad to have this behind us and continue our routine of fun times with our adult children and their spouses - our greatest joy always is family time. We're so grateful to them all for helping us through these difficult days - we appreciated your prayers as well. Here are some of the family on our traditional cookie-baking day last Sunday:

 How did these grandchildren get so tall!

We became great-grandparents in June when Pam’s oldest Katie and husband Alex became parents of Brayden Parker (above). A new era begins.

Bible study, church services, being in community with our family and God’s amazing community of Christian believers give us great joy.

We love this season of Christmas lights and our indoor and outdoor Nativity scenes –reminders of God’s ultimate act of self-giving modeling for us the means of our true and deepest happiness – loving and serving others.

Our prayer is that you, we, all of us, may know Christ ever more intimately as 2018 unfolds. Merry, blessed, happy, sacred, fun-filled Christmas to you and all your loved ones!