He must have loved me an awful lot...

It's beginning to feel a lot like winter. I just put the storm doors back on my house and got rid of the last autumn leaves that were huddling in nooks and crannies around the yard, up against the fence and the shed, and in between the gas tanks at the rear of my home. I feel remarkably warm now that I am back inside, probably because I am thawing and the blood is rushing back to my extremities. Stacey McCarter was very excited yesterday when she told me that she had seen some snowflakes in White Marsh. She told me that she wanted enough snow to make the family expedition to cut down a Christmas tree picturesque (my word, not hers), but not so much that she could not get to work on Monday. I don't think she is going to get her wish this weekend...

I am looking forward to Christmas, mostly because I will be traveling to Maine to be with my family. We will be celebrating not only our Savior's birthday, but also my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary with a delicious dinner at The Good Table restaurant in Cape Elizabeth (you should try it out if you are ever in the Portland, Maine area). Their anniversary is actually December 10th, but we cannot all be there on that day. We children love our mother and father, and we feel fortunate to have parents who have stayed together, through thick and thin, all these years. We have wise elders to whom we can turn for counsel, and a place where we can rest our heads and get a home cooked meal when we are in their vicinity. I try to call them at least once a week, just to hear their voices and tell them I love them, and now with Internet video chat, we can see each other, if we want. They are my favorite people to buy Christmas gifts for, because I know what they like and I feel I owe so much to them.

Meanwhile at school, the Christmas season has begun with Christmas songs and carols being sung or played on instruments at local nursing homes and, this Sunday, in church. Next weekend the teens head to New York City to sing carols and win souls at Rockefeller Plaza and the Staten Island Ferry. The annual Christmas musical debuts December 15th at 7pm in the chapel, and I do so look forward to that night. 

Everywhere I look, I see my nephew Colby smiling at me as Joseph with his penciled in beard and headdress. Which reminds me that I need to bring my Nativity scene to school to display in the office. I'm a little odd, I know, because my favorite Christmas decoration is not a tree, but my Nativity scene, and my favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night. The fact that Christ came to earth as a helpless baby and was part of a family amazes me with His humility and his commitment to identify with a guy like me. 

I wonder what growing up was like for him? What kind of parents were Mary and Joseph? What was it like being the big brother to his younger siblings? Was it ever hard for him in school? Did he have friends? What was it like for him as a teenager? Someday I suppose I'll know, but just knowing that, even though the Bible doesn't say much about Jesus' life between his birth and his public ministry in his thirties, he lived all those years in between, just like I did, and had to face the same challenges of growing up. He lived thirty years in relative anonymity, even though he was God made flesh, before he revealed himself to the world. Did it feel like forever, waiting all that time? He must have loved me an awful lot to put up with all the things he must have gone through before God told him it was time to step out on the stage of the world and declare the glorious gospel. 

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for what you did for me, what you are doing for me and in me. Such love brings me to my knees in humble gratitude. Thank you for family, for friends, for our school, our church, and your life that fills it all.

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