After a whirlwind of Christmas festivities since early November, it was an appropriate conclusion to gather at our home in Nebraska for a weekend with the entire family. What a joy.
Every year the family grows. Grandchildren add a new joy & excitement. Conversations deepen.
We are so thankful!
We kicked off the festivities by sharing our Christmas show in our hometown. The auditorium was packed to overflowing. It was especially meaningful to see so many dear friends who have literally watched our family grow. Many were babysitters during the early years. Or Sunday School teachers. Neighbors. Employers. Friends.
People who have abundantly poured into our lives in a multitude of ways.
It was an evening we will treasure for a long time.
After the concert, Caden gave a short concert of his own.
The next generation of musicians has begun!
On Monday evening we had our Christmas feast -- after which, the men continued their annual tradition of caroling in harmonies while the ladies tidy the kitchen.
What a treat to hear those rich, deep harmonies -- with the occasional creative percussion & accapella flair added for good measure!
We unofficially credited Elizabeth with the 'most creative gift-wrapping' prize this year. Her 3-part gift was made into the most adorable little snowman!
The tree, which stood between our kitchen & living room area.
We're looking forward to meeting our two new grand-babies in 2016!
Rachel @ 35 weeks
Abi @ 18 weeks
After a time of family sharing, it was time to open gifts.
The youngest members of the family help Grandma pass out the gifts.
Andrew & Kori
Alan, Rachel, & Charissa
Alaythia, Susanna, & Stephen
The mass mayhem ensues!
We need a sound-byte for this photo so you can hear all the squeals of delight!
Showing mommy new gifts.
I think they like this gift!?
Josiah & Abi
The gift of the night was Caden's own guitar.
To say he was thrilled would be an understatement!
Just look at that face.
He carried it around the entire night.
And yes, even insisted on sleeping with it!
Getting pointers from Uncle Matthias.
Another fun tradition is unveiling our new individual photos. Every year Kori graciously does a photo-shoot of each family member to update our family legacy wall. She does such a great job!
Family: What a treasure. What a joy!
As we took turns sharing the Lord's work in our lives over the past year, we were humbled and amazed at His goodness. We miss the mark so many times. We have our struggles. We often need to ask forgiveness of each other.
But God's Word gives Light! Hope! Victory over sin!
At the core, isn't that the wonder of Christmas? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly coming to earth in the humblest of ways. Dying a torturous death on the cross, taking our sins upon Himself. Rising with power to forgive our sins and to give us HIS righteousness that we might live in newness of life.
This is the Christmas story. This is the heartbeat which impacts our lives each and every day.
Thank you, Jesus!
“For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish
but have everlasting life."