Sunday, December 11, 2011

So Thankful . . .

I have always enjoyed the fact that Thanksgiving is right before heading into the celebration of Christmas. Despite the fact that the retailers want to skip right over it, it helps me to begin focusing my heart before heading into the season of fighting the busy-ness that so easily distracts me from what I want to be doing.

This Thanksgiving, we had the joy of Earl’s mom and sister come and stay with us for a few days. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal together (Jan’s mom was also there, but Gail couldn’t make it), and then were blessed with lazy mornings and slow days.

 

(As usual, the kids all pitched in to help clean and then decorate the table. Jonathan enjoyed putting the homemade placemats out, and then made place cards for everyone.)

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(Emily was a huge help in the kitchen and Earl documented all the preparatory activities, as Jan was busy.)

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(The finished table. Just waiting for the food and for Earl to get back from the airport with Rita and Sonya.)

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(We printed up a devotional from C. H. Spurgeon to read before the meal.)

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(Jan’s mom, Nancy, making her famous gravy from the turkey drippings.)

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(Rita just dove right into the preparations when she arrived and helped get that turkey ready for the table.)

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(The meal was delicious, and David entertained us with some Thanksgiving jokes and a story he wrote for the day.)

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(We ate early and everyone was pretty tired. We lit a fire in the fireplace and just hung out in the front room chatting. Here is Jonathan between Sonya and Rita, waiting for everyone to be ready for dessert.)

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(Dessert and coffee time finally came and we enjoyed a restful evening.)

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(On Friday, we were all dying for a walk, so we headed to the park for some fresh air and exercise. It was a beautiful day!)

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(Saturday, we headed to Seal Beach and walked down the pier to get some delicious lunch.)

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(After lunch, the sun was so glorious and it made the shadows perfect. This is one of my most favorite “shots” of the year!)

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(On Monday, we took them down to Dana Point Harbor to walk around a bit. It was another beautiful day!)

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(In search of some lunch . . .)

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(We tried to catch a little of the LSU vs. Alabama game, but Rita couldn’t bear to watch it for long. But she couldn’t bear NOT to watch it either! This was the day we left and went to the park. She couldn’t get her mind off what the score was and was dying to get back home. So funny!)

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(When we weren’t touring Southern California, the kids and Earl’s mom and sister shot a lot of hoops out front!)

It was a wonderful time having them here. It was nice for us all to be together since losing Earl’s father back in March. Life can be hard, but how good of our God to bless us with moments of joy through sharing in the lives of those around us.

Jesus was the “consolation of Israel”. Why did they need consoling? Because their sin was forever separating them from God, and their life in this world, tainted and stained by sin, was hard. They longed for relief. I too long for relief. I get frustrated when I expect this life to be what heaven has been promised to be. But when I look, during this season, at the message of Christmas, I am comforted . . . Jesus did come, as He promised. He IS my consolation. He came to take my place (and the place of everyone who trusts in Him) and to drink the cup of God’s wrath, so I wouldn’t have to. He came that I might be reconciled back into fellowship with my Creator and Lord. And now every day is filled with the knowledge that He Who was faithful in the past to keep His promises to send a Savior, will continue to be faithful to be with me and to give me all I need to walk in faith and joy and hope and love.

So thankful for the “Consolation of Israel”!

Are YOU consoled by the message of the manger?

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