I wish I could send each and every one of you a real card... but this will have to do. Thank you for visiting me here and occasionally leaving an encouraging word. I appreciate it so much. Merry Christmas!
A hearty Merry Christmas to you all! May God bless you and your families during this Christmas season and may His presence be gloriously evident to you all in the coming year. May we all have eyes to see His goodness in our lives.
2017 was mostly held together by strings of ordinary days, pleasant in their normalcy and comfortable in their commonness, but there were some bright and shining baubles sprinkled throughout, marking this particular year with particular moments to look back on.
A first ever family vacation with the Newman side of the family for three nights(!) (Practically miraculous.) Corynn getting an opportunity to work on the World’s Largest Mosaic (Ithaca, NY). Andrew getting rabbits, in hopes of starting a business. (Just check his charts. $$$ He’ll make THOUSANDS! $$$) A pirate parade float. Judah finding and adopting a baby possum for a day. A new (to Matt) tractor. Painting hundreds of porch spindles. Matt re-siding the Granary from lumber from our own woods. First rides in hot-air balloons (even for a most terrified Mama) thanks to some very generous friends who have one. Ruby had puppies- twice! And most recently (as in last week), the first broken bones: not happening to one of the rowdy boys as one would expect but to dainty Adele’. Though we’ve discovered through this experience that, as Matt would say, “she’s got some grit”.
The much more plentiful ‘ordinary days’ were full of the same old exhaustion that comes with rearing a houseful of children, even the exceptionally great ones that God has given us. There was the same raucous dinner tables, the same pizza and movie nights every Friday, the same floor covered with toys and papers and school books every day and the same “Quick! We need to clean this up before Papa gets home!” rush around 6:15pm. There were the same garden chores and garden feasting in summer and the same from scratch-cooking and canning that happens every year. There was the reading of good books, aloud to all and curled up by oneself. There was Mama sitting on the couch trying to listen to individual, choppy letter sounds become fluid words, without eyes glazing over, growing impatient or (most likely of all) falling asleep. There were the same moments of putting in the renegade mini-horse and caring for the cows and chickens. There was blueberry picking and flower bouquets, handmade gifts and homemade donuts. There was cider pressing (over 50 gallons in total this year but not all for us) and toilet bowl fishing (more times than I care to remember) by a certain precocious 1 ½ year old. There was the same hardworking husband leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. And the same lack of spare time for said man. There are the ever present concerns for family, for friends, for finances and our nation that constantly keep us on our knees and sometimes, awake at night.
Our culture of brokenness, the slaughter of innocents, the corruption of a society that flips truth on its head: the darkness of today can overwhelm. But God came down to meet us in our darkness. He is no stranger to wicked rulers, cultures in turmoil, to the government sanctioned slaughter of innocent children…they were part of the nativity story just as much as the angels singing from the heavens and the donkey carrying a Kingdom on his back.
Christ, the Bright and Morning Star, came to our world and into our darkness to crack it open and give us Light. Not like a light switch, but like the Sun of Righteousness. Suns rise in the east, slowly… so slowly you may not even notice as it happens. All of a sudden a crack of light becomes a sphere, stars disappear, dew melts and the earth is awash in light.
It still feels dark sometimes. So we wait. And pray. But while we wait- we can sing. And celebrate. While the world may not be bathed in the gold of noonday Sun just yet, every moment the darkness grows more and more faint. May we celebrate our conquering King- and may we turn our faces toward the Light.
O come, thou Dayspring from on high, and cheer us by thy drawing night;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.