Dearest Family and Friends,
Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! We sent out cards and posted this letter a couple of weeks earlier than usual because we are moving! We wanted to get our cards out before the move and to make sure you had our new address. Our official move out date is December 10. If we are on your list for Christmas cards, and you plan to have it arrive after December 10, please send it to our new home in Ohio (address is on our Christmas card, or feel free to email me if you need it). We’re very excited for our move! Because we were in State College for so short a time and because that time coincided with the whirlwind of being first time parents, it was difficult to plant roots. Knowing we will live in Ohio for 3 years gives us hope of getting more settled. We also bought a house! So being first time homeowners adds to the excitement. If you find yourself roaming around Ohio, please give us a call! It would be our pleasure to host you.
Around this time each year, it’s pretty customary that people examine what they are grateful for. We’ve been talking about that a bit, and felt inspired by these reflections from Blessed is She. Even though this year has proved a challenging one as we transitioned into parenthood, we feel immense gratitude for Christ’s mercy, a loving family, a healthy child, good friends, a warm and peaceful home and good food. (We are also grateful that Josh finished his thesis!) We remember in our prayers those who are lonely, suffering and lacking the life’s most basic needs. We pray especially for those who fear for their lives as they flee from terrorism and violence. We pray for all those who died at the hand of hatred, in our own country and abroad, this past year and for their loved ones. I know that bringing up reflections on violence isn’t the usual tone or customary form for a Christmas letter… but as the darkness of the world seems to press in on all sides, it reminds me of how desperately we need the light of Christ. We need His eternal lamp to shine out and be our “light in the dark of winter and light for the blind who stumble in an often bleak world,” so that even on the darkest days, filled with anxieties of daily life and despair from the world around us, we can dare to hope in the great promise: love and eternal life with Jesus (Daniel Stewart).
Thank you, God! Help us to receive the Christ Child, His holy Mother and Saint Joseph into the home of our hearts. In turn, Lord, may we remain open and loving to those in need of our love, time and material goods. May we give of our wealth freely knowing that all we have is a gift. Help us to go to and comfort the afflicted rather than feeling uncomfortable in their presence. May we remember that you, too, fled from violence and lived in a foreign land as a child and help us respond to those seeking refuge with compassion. May we be your light!
Come, Holy Spirit. Enkindle in us the fire of Your love. Amen.
May your Advent and Christmas be holy and blessed.
Love and prayers,
If you would like to see what we were up to this year, here are links to the blog archives for 2015: