And so begins a rather popular Christmas song. As I am in different businesses and hear all the “secular” songs about being so happy and what a wonderful time of year it is I realize that not everyone has those feelings. My route home often includes passing a funeral home, they had a full parking lot tonight. A friend of ours recently delivered a child with a fatal birth defect – she lived just over an hour. Melanie and I look at our approaching times of Christmas celebration and are keenly aware Susannah isn’t with us. For those grieving a loss or struggling in other areas, it doesn’t mean Christmas can’t be celebrated. Christmas isn’t about how we feel. Christmas is about remembering the plan God set in motion for us. Yes, this plan didn’t begin at Christ’s birth, but that was when it became so real to mankind. Without all the “happy” feelings and distractions, we have the chance to celebrate in a genuine, heart-felt way. We can come before God and be real, sharing both our hurting hearts and gratefulness for His love expressed. I recently read in John how the Israelites would gather in Jerusalem for the feasts; they would come together and worship. This worship probably included song and praise, but I also think it included times of quietness and reflection. Hannah’s heart-felt request for a child came during a trip to the tabernacle to worship. (1 Sam. 1:3 & 1:11)
I also wanted to update you on how Melanie and I are doing. . . . The pregnancy seems to be progressing well. We are greatly desiring and praying that we can be “normal” this time and not have to go down the “high-risk” road. We have heard the baby’s heartbeat twice – each time a huge blessing and encouragement. Melanie’s energy level seems to be up just a bit, something we were hoping for in the second trimester.
We recently returned to the hospital where Susannah was delivered and cared for. It was a good, but challenging visit. Standing outside her room in the NICU brought back so many memories. We were able to see two of the nurses that had cared for her as well as her delivery doctor. It wasn’t an easy time but it was good for us. God has faithfully cared for us this past year, we are amazed at how He will send encouragement just when we need it. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, posted a comment to encourage us, mourned and rejoiced with us.
About sixty-five cups of flour later, thirty-four loaves of whole-wheat cinnamon bread were ready for our caroling evening. It has been a yearly tradition to bake some sort of Christmas goodies, and along with a card, we carol to our neighbors. John has our master list of whom we carol to, and we’ve found that Sunday evenings are the best because people tend to be home. Last night was no exception; most of the families were home. We have been blessed with good neighbors and this is a time when we enjoy sharing Christ’s love in song and smiles. Nathan had the idea for candles, so he invented a way (no wax dripping on our gloves!) for us to carry them without them blowing out. However, we did find the cups can catch on fire if not held vertically. They added a very nice “touch” to the singing.
We are also preparing and looking forward to this Sunday evening’s Christmas service in Gypsum, Kansas. We will be sharing through music, testimonies, and a message from Dad. This will be Uriah’s first trip with the whole family.
Although this is a very joyful time for many Christians, I know there are those who are also hurting. I think of a family who lost their newborn baby girl very recently and the ache they must feel. For those of you who have gone through a difficult trial this year, may Jesus comfort your hearts as only He can.
Merry Christmas – our Savior is born!
Joyfully His, Sarah
The first batch of bread was started a little before 11:30 a.m. (after we came home from church), and by 5:30 p.m., the loaves had all been baked and were ready to go!
This is the front of the card we attached to the bread.
This is the inside.
Nathan, Melanie, and baby!
The only two who aren’t in this photo: Dad (who took it!), and Melanie had gone home a little earlier.
As of 10 a.m. yesterday morning, our electricity went out! Quite a bit of the Midwest has experienced a major ice storm over the last day or two. It has been an adventure being without electricity, but we’re doing great. We rented a small generator yesterday, so we no longer have to hand-bail our sump (we must have an underground spring at this current house!), and we can actually power several computers. Christopher spent some time this morning getting my computer set up so that I could still ship Titus2.com orders.
If you can believe this, Nathan and Melanie, right across the street, still have electricity! Grandad, Grandma, and our family had dinner over there last night, as well as devotions. We had all settled down for devotions in the living room, when a thunderous noise echoed outside. The guys (and some of the girls) jumped up, and the guys hurried outside. The noise sounded like a tree had hit the house, but praise the Lord, it hadn’t.
Devotions this morning were done by flashlights and headlamps. We’re praying for those in Oklahoma who have been greatly affected by this storm. I can only imagine how it must be for them right now.
As I went with Dad to Home Depot yesterday, I mentioned to him how it was amazing that some people had power yet others of us didn’t. Dad said it was a picture of those who are saved and those who aren’t; some people are living in dark and others are in light. It truly changes a life whether you have light or not :-)!
Only for Jesus, Sarah PS – We saw a power truck just drive by, so the power may be on soon!
We arrived home (safely) a little over an hour ago – thank you very much for your prayers. Apparently, the roads in the KC area had been fully treated since the accidents this morning – so besides seeing some cars (and a semi) that were off the road in various places, the roads were not iced over.
As we approach Kansas City (only a few hours away) the temperature is dropping and it has been steadily raining. Ice is forming on the exterior surfaces of the bus and we have seen numerous salt trucks. The interstate is not yet slippery, but the temperature in Kansas City is 24, and our weather-tracking web page was reporting a number of accidents on various roads and interstates.
From dark and narrow mountain roads to icy interstates, it looks like Uriah is doing very well on our first trip with him!
Although, the heat in the main cabin of the bus hasn’t been working, so it has been a little chilly. It’s a good thing the heat in the driver’s area is functioning!
Thank you for your prayers…
In Christ, Christopher
The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.