The Best Christmas Present

Greetings from Sunny and Hot Australia!

I hope you all had the best Christmas ever. I know we did! Why, you ask?

You see, about 10 years ago our wonderful prospective son-in-love proposed to our daughter from the worship team stage at our church, complete with big screen video and lots of fanfare


Fast forward to Christmas day this year, where we sat before that same stage and watched in joy as daughter, her husband, both brother-in-law and father-in-law all joined together with the worship team to lead us in a medley of beautiful Christmas carols. Some of the Pennycuick family had driven almost a thousand miles to get there. They came from New South Wales, the outback town of Broken Hill where there have been something like TWO Covid cases, so they were able to get into Queensland. Mum and Dad didn’t have as far to come, but since they started just over the border in more civilized New South Wales, there were treated to some bureaucratic and complicated permissions to get certified to our (again) locked down prefecture.

But everyone agreed the trip was worth it, especially the newest member of the worship team, possibly kicking a foot to the music, who was announcing a forecasted arrival next July: BABY Pennycuick! Needless to say, we’re all dancing in the aisles (at least as much as good Baptists can dance).

So that’s the penultimate of our Christmas news.  Like most of us, it’s been quite a year, and one that most folks are happy to be looking at in the year-view mirror. But all in all, it’s been a good year. Tony is still apparently cancer-free and has gone back to being a part-time carnivore, finding that he didn’t lose his taste for unhealthy food.  So far, his only complaint as this year ends is a memorable case of sciatica resulting in back pain that has left him almost unable to walk. Any suggestions for home remedies out there? I teased him this morning, saying all he needed was a handkerchief pinned to his shirt to complete the picture. He failed to appreciate the humor.

We were reminded this week of the global crisis that still persists. A deacon in the church where I grew up whom I’ve always  enjoyed, was healthy and then suddenly died yesterday of Covid, … the first case of someone we actually knew well. Then another close friend told us of his failed marriage, totally blindsiding us, since they seemed to be the perfect couple.
What can we say about 2020? I suppose the same thing we can say each year since the Garden of Eden: Sin continues to break things, loved ones continue to come to the end of their days.

But literally “Thanks be to God”, Christ has come and continues to reach out to us in love, with hope and promise. Joys abound all around us, a reminder of His presence and mercy. And when the hard times bear down, we bear up, knowing that He has never forsaken us, and never will.

Christmas brought that reminder, and the memories of the season, of the Infant Savior of the world and His precious time here among us will gird us up for 2021. Bring it on, Lord. Come quickly!
Peace on Earth and pass the leftovers………..


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