Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas '07

Dear Family & Friends,

Merry Christmas! Isaiah 7:14 records one of many prophecies about Christ’s birth: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Although this verse accurately predicts Christ’s miraculous birth approximately 600 years before the very first Christmas, it does much more as well. The wording in the first part of the verse reveals that the sign of Christ’s birth was special even among miracles because God Himself was going to do it, unlike many other miracles that He accomplished through prophets and such. The middle part of the verse ties this prophecy and Christ’s birth to the very first prophecy which God Himself made to Satan in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Also, this facet of the verse declares that Christ will be genuinely human. The last part of the verse reveals that not only is God the doer of this sign but that He is the sign. Matthew 1:23 explains, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Additionally, His name of Immanuel points toward the purpose for His miraculous birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension – to be with us. Just before Christ went to the mount of Olives where He was betrayed, He prayed in John 17:20 & 21: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” May your Christmas be merry in belief, trust, & faith in Christ; and if you do not believe in Him, please know that though more than 2000 Christmases have passed since His birth, He still invites you to be with Him through belief in His word.

In addition to salvation, the Lord has blessed and challenged us throughout this year. Of course, Hannah was born in October of 2006; but we spent most of the beginning of 2007 getting to know one another. In March we visited Paul’s dad & step-mom in Florida for a weekend and celebrated Kenneth’s 2nd birthday. While we were there Kenneth befriended his step-aunt, Jennifer. In April Melinda’s parents visited us for a week, and then we traveled together to NJ so they could return to their home and we could visit Melinda’s friend, Nancy. We then proceeded to NY to visit Paul’s sister (Lisa) & her family for about a week along with Melinda’s cousin & her family, who had traveled down from Canada. We packed Lisa’s home with 6 adults and 12 children, and we had a wonderful time. Hannah especially enjoyed meeting her northern “fan club.”

Most of our summer was spent working, chasing Kenneth & Hannah, doing chores around the house, and involving ourselves at church. Aside from growing like a weed and attaining new heights of mischief, Kenneth is developing his vocal skills. Of course Hannah is growing fast as well, but her chief development seems to be her mobility as she tries to keep up with her brother. Paul continues to work as a probation/parole officer, and Melinda continues her work as the family’s homemaker. Also, we have completed several projects around the house such as insulating some of the water pipes in the crawlspace, hanging more wall decorations, and building gates for the porch and deck. We spent about a week of the summer house-sitting for the Souths (friends from church) and enjoyed their pool and garden. Along with the regular activities at church, we spent a lot of time amending the church’s constitution. This was both challenging and educational. Melinda continues to minister as the church’s nursery superintendent, and Paul continues to serve as a deacon.

On August 18th Melinda celebrated her birthday and reached the age of majority – for a hobbit. In October Paul & Melinda celebrated their 10th anniversary! In keeping with tradition, we took Hannah out for Mexican food with our friends, Coart & Lori, on her 1st birthday. We enjoyed fellowshipping with Coart & Lori again on Thanksgiving but missed the traditional visit by Paul’s mom due to her new job. We look forward to Paul’s dad & step-mom visiting us for Christmas followed in January by some friends from IN, the Matsons. May God bless each of you during this special season as you reflect on the Christ of Christmas.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,

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