Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very un-2020-like New Year!

The year 2020 has become the subject of sadly resonant jokes and funny cartoons. My Far Side loving family got a kick out of the neighborhood ice cream truck that had been changed to a liver and onions truck. Two kids were hiding, because no one wants liver and onions.

With apologies those who enjoy liver and onions (sorry Mom and Dad), it’s not my idea of a treat. In many ways, 2020 wasn’t either.

We cancelled several trips, missed getting together with friends and family, zoom was fun for a while, before zoom fatigue. We read more books, always a pleasure for me, and streamed more television than usual. Dan worked doubly hard at World Relief handling Covid adjustments, and I am now working for the library, due to the pandemic, because my contract as a high school career advisor wasn’t renewed.

But the year wasn’t all bad. It was still a year in which God was with us, showering us with blessings, transforming us and guiding us. That is what he does.

We enjoyed getting together with all six of the Fragosos, which is always an active pleasure. It’s hard to believe that Oliver is 10, Elion 6, Anthony almost 4 and Larissa 18 months. Christine and Joaquim are understandably busy, but they’re loving (almost) every minute of their non-stop lives.

Teaching, for Brian, has been a bit different this year – virtual, in person or both at once – depending on the week. He’s handling it. Kelly keeps busy working and attending classes toward her Master of Social Work degree.

Kenny and Miranda are new parents of 6-month-old Odette and are enjoying the first year of their fellowships. Needless to say, their lives are full. We’re looking forward to seeing them soon!

Life goes on.

As 2020 comes to an end, this Christmas may be more like the night Jesus was born than years packed with festivities. Our gatherings will be smaller, less fuss. We have more time to ponder the miracle of Jesus’s birth.

God, creator of the universe, made his appearance as a baby born to regular folks like Mary and Joseph, who were forced to take a trip to register for a census at a most inconvenient time. Mary gave birth to Jesus, according to prophecy, in a Bethlehem stable. It was no one’s idea of a grand entrance.

Jesus, King of kings and worthy of a magnificent appearance, was born under miserable circumstances. In stunning humility, God identified with ordinary people, like you and me. His life, like his birth, displayed no desire for honor, fame or fortune. He spent time with people who needed help and who were open to Jesus’s message of healing, deliverance and salvation. He still does exactly that.

Christmas celebrations have become like cultural ice cream cones. Parties, decorations, gifts and fun! It’s appropriate to celebrate the miracle of Jesus coming to earth, but maybe this year we all needed something a bit more nutritious. It was a liver and onions kind of year.

This Christmas, celebrate Immanuel, God with us, who came to bring you abundant life and eternal joy. If we focus on Him and the blessings he makes available to us, Christmas might feel like a delicious ice cream cone.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

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