Merry Christmas

Family at Folly Beach
Folly Beach, SC, 2018

How can it possibly be the end of December? The years go by fast, and I suppose that’s because they are so very full.

I used to think that life would be a little more serene after our children left the nest, but that is a fallacy. Yes, there is less day to day chaos, but there are more people to love and little people to again bring energy into our lives.

Christine and Joaquim have three spirited boys, and their fourth child is due the beginning of June. I’m hoping for a girl, but we’ll see! Joaquim is enjoying his work at Intervarsity Press and Christine still manages to work for Kinship United from home four days a week and in the office on the day I have the boys. Kenny is approaching the end of his residency and Miranda has one more year until the end of hers. Fellowships will follow, and they’re becoming tremendous doctors. Brian is teaching history and reading tomes full of the events of yesteryear. He loves it. Kelly took a new part time job and will be starting school for her master’s degree in social work in January.

Dan and I are working in the same jobs. Enough said. Trips to North Carolina for a wedding, Nashville for fun, Seattle with the college girls followed by a weekend with Brian and Kelly and, the highlight of our year, a family vacation to Folly Beach in August were some of our travels.

The beach was a great attraction for the boys, who jumped waves, watched dolphins and learned how to boogie-board. Personally, I enjoy reading or walking on the beach, taking a dip in the water only when I get hot, but I had more motivation to get in the water this time. We went kayaking, did a jigsaw puzzle, played games, went in to Charleston, and out for dinner. It was relaxing and relational. There was a little something for everyone.

A matter of distanceOne of my favorite memories from that week was sitting on the deck in the evening watching for shooting stars (we saw a few) and catching up. We all downloaded apps to tell us which planets and constellations we were looking at while staring at the sky. It was awesome. There’s something about a star filled night that is quiet, peaceful and beautiful, and it seems we all needed some serenity.

On a peaceful night long ago the sky told a miraculous story, but no app would have been able to decipher its news. Shepherds were the audience for a choir of angels announcing Jesus’s birth:

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.  Luke 2:11, 13-14

A star declared Jesus’s birth as well. When Magi from the east noticed it, they went to Jerusalem to ask King Herod where the King of the Jews had been born. King Herod had no idea and was worried, so he asked the Jewish leaders where the Messiah was to have been born. Bethlehem, they told him.

No one knows what kind of star, supernova, comet, planetary conjunction or supernatural event the Magi saw, but it led them to the Savior.

God told the transforming story of Jesus’s birth to both lowly shepherds and well-educated Magi through events in the sky. Jewish shepherds would have understood angels and astronomers naturally noticed a star. God communicated to everyone that his Son, the Savior, was born and nothing would ever be the same.

Next time you’re admiring the starry sky on a beautiful night, and perhaps feeling suitably small, remember that the Creator of the universe loves you and announced his greatest work, the sending of Jesus to save us, in his heavens.

We wish you a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

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