Christmas Week 2019

We were able to celebrate Christmas twice this year. Jessica and Joe celebrated Christmas on the Saturday before Christmas so Sierra and family could join us. We drove to Pagosa on Friday and spent 3 nights. Sierra and Micheal with great-grandson, Maverick, drove down from Ft Collins Friday night and joined us for the morning and early afternoon. Micheal’s work schedule limited their visit to Saturday. Joe cooked a great beef rib roast on the grill with fire and smoke from the side fire box. Noah is missing from the picture because of work. Sierra is pregnant with another great-grandson due in March. We’re excited about that.

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On Monday we drove north over the San Juan mountains to Grand Junction to spend 4 days including Christmas with Matthew and family. Matthew cooked a rib roast Christmas day also – it was a great meal. I gained weight this trip – lol. You may notice that Ashley is pregnant also with a great-grandson due in February. We’re excited about that.

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We have two great-grandchildren in this 4-generation family. Maddie is 2 years and 3 months old. Maverick is 1 year and 6 months old. They are the stars in every family gathering. Rightfully so – they’re great kids and they understand Christmas better than any of the rest of us.

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The other part of this family is son, Aaron and Christine and granddaughter Aria. They live far away in Vermont. We have a trip scheduled in June to visit them – can’t wait. We’ll get in a Skype visit with them now that we’re back home from the trip.

I love the Christmas season. Christmas is a time of year I always detect a heightened display of joy in people. It doesn’t seem to matter where I am – in stores, restaurants, church, out on the street – people seem more friendly, quicker to smile, more apt to hold open a door, more willing to share a comment with a stranger. I love the feeling that joy brings to the places we go. I know there are some who struggle economically and emotionally with the holiday season – they deserve our attention. sympathy and understanding. But still, it seems great to me that a time of year is able to bring more goodness out in many people.

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The holidays give us a time to focus on family and spend time that gives some escape from the world around us. Our family enjoys prosperity and good health. We don’t lose sight, though, of difficulties that others face. We see bad things happening around us – our faith enables a view of them which is circumspect realizing we are not immune from like tragedies. On a Sabbath day in a synagogue in Nazareth Jesus was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah and he read these words,
Luke 4:18–19 (NIV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus then tells those assembled at the synagogue, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” We struggle a little understanding these words by Jesus. We live in a world where there are gun fights in church worship services – where the victory by the good guys over the bad guy is seemingly celebrated because more lives could have been lost than were. This tragic event in the news this week happening at a congregation which helps the poor and defends the oppressed and had fed the one who murdered two of its members. We mourn the loss of each of the three lives and extend sympathy to their families and loved ones. Nearly two thousand years after Jesus spoke those words in Nazareth we wait for victory over evil. We preach goodness and salvation; we live our lives trying to be examples of neighbors loving neighbors. We wait patiently for victory to end the violence, the greed, and the oppression. God tells us to persevere – we do that with persistent faith and worship of the only One who can bring victory. As I finish this post on a New Year’s Day of a new decade, I pray that we all make some progress towards defeating evil and may God’s will be fulfilled in His time for the celebration of final victory.

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We’ll gather this evening of New Year’s day with church family here in Belen and share in a devotional singing and prayer to God and then share a simple meal. This four generations of family of mine enjoyed a blessed year of prosperity and good health. We don’t ever know when those blessings might end, but in the meantime we count our blessings and thank God who created a world full of bounty for us to enjoy. May our faith in God grow in 2020 and may we count some victories that make life more joyous for all.

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