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IMG_5728It’s Christmas Eve afternoon, the lights are sparkling all over the house, Kathy Mattea’s “Good News” CD is playing and all four of us are here.  HERE, in this house, together.

It has been quite a year.  When I think back about what was happening at this time last year, I am quietly in awe of the amount of changes, both expected and unexpected, that we have gone through individually and as a family.  In thinking back on last year’s changes, I am excited by the possibilities that 2015 brings.

Steve’s promotion at work, Alex’s opportunity to live in London, Brooke’s decision to attend Emerson College…none of these were even on the horizon at this point last year.  We were anticipating the spring activities of Brooke’s senior year and Alex’s next play.  Brooke was completing college applications and scheduling auditions.  We were looking forward to our first summer on the water.  I was deeply immersed in my volunteer activities at our old church, at the high school and at the Lamb Center.

Fast forward 12 months and we celebrate our familiar Christmas traditions within the context of much that is new and different.  New relationships, new roles, new jobs, new church home, new stages of life, new challenges, new significant people in our lives, new sense of purpose.  As we decorated our tree on Sunday evening and laughed over the beloved ornaments that represent a lifetime of memories, I was struck by the comfort found in the warm familiar.  Even as we each change and grow and embark on new adventures, this house, particularly at this time of year, feels safe and happy. And it feels like coming home in the truest sense of the word. I hope that the girls feel that way too…I suspect that they do.

As a person of faith, I believe that God is all knowing and omnipresent, unchanging and unrestrained by time. Though much is unknown to us regarding our future, I trust that God sees what is coming and lights our path if we choose to see. At Christmas, I am reminded of the lengths He is willing to go in His love for us and His passion to draw us to Himself. As the prophet Isaiah said, “the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

I find that God’s fingerprints are often more easily seen in retrospect, and that is certainly true as this year draws to a close. As I look back on the changes in each of our lives the last year, particularly the unexpected ones, I see God’s hand in the unfolding details. As I get older, I find the uncertainty of tomorrow is less frightening because I’ve found God to be faithful in the ups and downs of the years…both in my life and the lives of my loved ones. The good times strengthen and prepare us for the hard times. The hard times make us thankful for the good times and draw us closer to Him and each other.

This Christmas feels like taking a deep breath, a chance to recharge and reconnect before we all go back out into the world to chase our dreams. For those of you reading these words, I wish you and your family the same opportunity for joyful moments of connection.  And for each of us, I pray for a deepening connection and experience of our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. The zeal of the Lord Almighty can and will accomplish this, if we say YES!

Merry, Merry Christmas, dear friends!