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.
We wish you a blessed Christmas.
Nathan, Melanie and Baby
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!
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.
Anna – with two of the caroling candles!
It was amazing to see the lights come back on around 2:45 p.m. this afternoon. We’re grateful.
Praying for those still affected,
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,
PS – We saw a power truck just drive by, so the power may be on soon!
Many have asked why we named the bus Uriah. I love the name Uriah because of who Uriah was in Scripture. He was a valiant, obedient, and faithful man. His life deeply touches mine.
The brief glimpse that we have of Uriah shows his heart’s desire was to serve his king, even in personal hardship and to the point of giving his life. In 2 Samuel 11, he is out with the army during the campaign. David recalls Uriah so that David could attempt to hide his sin with Bathsheba. Uriah forsook the comfort of his own home because his fellow soldiers were in the field at war. He is then sent back to battle and travels confidentially carrying a letter commanding his own death. As a skilled warrior, he would have known that the command, in the manner it was given to take the city, was foolish. Yet, he obeyed to the death. That is the way it is when we are committed to obeying someone. Praise God our Head is the Lord Jesus Who doesn’t fail. Sadly though, we may fail in hearing Him correctly at times.
Therefore, I felt Uriah was an appropriate title for our transportation. I do not picture Uriah as being handsome. This old bus is not very handsome either. Most newer buses are amazingly good looking, but Uriah can’t compare. Our desire is that once we get him mechanically into shape and converted, he will faithfully serve us. Uriah was a mighty man who lived to serve his king and died in his service. We just pray this Uriah will have a long life before he gives it up.
Sorry it took so long to get an answer.
In Christ Jesus,
Dad and Christopher arrived safely home with Uriah this afternoon, a little after 1:30 p.m. Joseph, John, and Jesse were at the Mission with Nathan, but we girls were home and excitedly watched for the big white bus to drive on to South 15th Street :-).
(Mom waving as Uriah comes down the street.)
We are grateful for the Lord’s protection because Dad had to drive through very tough situations – mountain roads in the dark, fog, rain, freezing rain, and ice. There is much work to be done on the bus to convert it, but for now, we will do some cleaning and mechanical things.
Thank you for your prayers! Uriah is HOME!
PS – Sorry for the somewhat duplicate post; I hadn’t realized Christopher had already posted :-).