Our Christmas season got off to a wonderful start by having Daniel with us on Thanksgiving. He had attended a conference in Chicago earlier in the week and been routed back to Stuttgart with a 24-hour layover in Atlanta. Beth was greatly missed, but we gave thanks for every minute with Daniel - and with Beth via Skype.
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, McDonough Christian Church hosted a Christmas memorial service where family members placed picture ornaments of their loved ones who are with the Lord. We cherished the memory of Jim and Eva Teague, Granny and Papa.
Worship choir, band, children, drama, and tech team put in many hours of preparation for Tell Me the Story, a message of God's gift of love, shown from Christ's birth through resurrection.
Our every-other-week Bible study met for Sandi's lesson, followed by a Christmas brunch. Sandi is a wonderful teacher, and also leads our ladies in financial support and encouragement of Beth's ministry in Germany.
Award-winning Christian fiction writer, Dale Cramer - who just happens to go to my church - celebrated the release of Though Mountains Fall with a book signing at Books-A-Million on December 16. He is a gifted writer and I am glad to call him my friend.
To understand this picture, you need to refer back to the kitten in the first picture above. Five-month-old Max appeared on our doorstep late one night last August when he was around six weeks old - alone, starving, and crying louder than I knew was possible for a cat. He is now very happy, growing steadily, and extremely fast. One of his favorite little tricks is to climb up the trunk of our Christmas tree and look out at me through its branches. I treasure all of my ornaments - and they are breakable - hence only the top half of our tree is decorated.
A favorite part of our Christmas day is a leisurely brunch in the afternoon - which includes Dwight's famous hash browns and eggs from the farm of our dear friend, Fran Evans.
Jane Lee, a long-time friend of our family who we have adopted as our "Mama Jane." We have Jane to thank for our dressing and gravy at Thanksgiving, as well as her special divinity at Christmas.
Although Beth and Daniel weren't physically with us this Christmas, we were able to visit with them through Skype, and for that we are very thankful.
"The star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him" (Matthew 2:9-11 NIV).