ThanksChristmas 2017

ThanksChristmas 2017 was wondrous. It was fun to have our children, their spouses, and our first grandbaby in our home for a few days. It was a much-needed tonic that worked wonders. It was a cure-all for all that ails me. For the first time since our youngest daughter was married this past July, we were all together, staying in the same place. It was a week that will go down in history as one of my favorites so far, and I am so thankful! God has blessed our family as we’ve transitioned from the four of us—Mom, Dad, Daughter 1, Daughter 2—to the seven of us (so far!). And I learned that what is said about being a grandparent is true! To dote or not to dote, that is no longer a question.One of the things that change is the fact that adding a couple of additional spouses means that the competition for time together is now more complicated. Our holiday schedule has become an “every other.” We have to become more creative as we celebrate the last two months of the year [during which the biggies fall: Thanksgiving and Christmas]. In a stroke of creative genius, we celebrated Christmas with our immediate family on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. And the star of the show was the grandbaby! He made a haul and was so cute! It made me think back to the days when our girls were young and got way too many gifts! We loved every excited squeal and laugh and ridiculous toy that would be played with for a few weeks until being replaced by the old faithful. [“Woody” worried for nothing!] The older I get, the more I don’t wish for any present other than presence. This year both daughters were here! Both spouses were here—sons whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. A granddog! A GRANDSON! And the one who still amazes me with her love for our daughters, our sons-in-love, our grandson, and me. I am blessed. However, I did receive gifts from my kids that were great! From the older—Courtney and Jason—I received a book and a game because they know I love to read and love to play. And the game could not have been more perfect: “Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers.” We played it for way too long Tuesday night and it was punomenal! A punderful time was had by all! Our younger daughter and her husband—Carlee and Joshua—love to sing together. They met while performing in a musical. They make beautiful music together and that was their gift to us: a CD they recorded in their home studio. It is my new favorite CD! It is primarily worships songs, hymns, a Bob Marley jewel (Redemption Song), an early Jackson Browne song (Rock Me on the Water), and a song they surprised me with by Neil Young (When God Made Me) that I told ‘em they should listen to. They sing better than Neil and make his theological reflection come to life beautifully:

Was he thinkin’ about my country Or the color of my skin Was he thinkin’ ‘bout my religion And the way I worshipped him? Did he create just me in his image Or every living thing? When God made me, when God made me

Was he planning only for believers Or for those who just had faith? Did he envision all the wars That were fought in his name? Did he think there was only one way To be close to him? When God made me, when God made me

Did he give us the gift of love To say who we could choose? When God made me, when God made me

Did he give the give of voice So some could silence me? Did he give me the gift of vision Not knowin’ what I might see? Did he give me the gift of compassion To help my fellow man? When God made me, when God made me…

When God made me and you and you and you and—the list goes on and on and on—he made us all in His image and in love. And when he moved into our neighborhood through the incarnation of Jesus, he said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:37-40]