Christmas, 1980 Somewhere a bird is chirping in spite of the skiff of snow and 20° weather, and I can see three starlings playing. The sun is shining, and they have warm feathers: “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God…He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse; He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” (from Psalms 146-147)
That’s what I’ve been learning this year: the Lord wants us to yield, but ONLY to Him. All too often I forget who the “enemy” is and find myself yielding to the flesh or wrestling with the Lord!! My 1981 watchword is going to be “Endure.” When you think of me this year, pray that I will develop endurance, please!
So what’s happening this year? On March 27th, Jonathan Joseph was born. Alan was delighted to have another boy, and now that Jonathan can clap and laugh when “Daddy” comes home, he feels even more rewarded. On May 26th, Michael Martin was born again, trusting Christ as his own Savior in accordance with the promise in Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Aaron was really the one who shared the “Good News” (gospel) with Michael at the time of his conversion…although both Alan and I reviewed the Scripture with him to make sure he understood. Yes, he was sure he was a sinner. (What a sensitive conscience a child has to understand sin, when many adults refuse to admit intentional evil or the depravity of our hearts!) Yes, he believed that Jesus was in fact God and man. (How often we reject as impossible what is so profoundly simple and true!) Yes, he believed that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scripture: and that He was seen…” (I Corinthians 15). Yes, Michael believed the gospel and he wanted to trust Christ, to trust in Christ as the only and all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). So simple, yet so incomprehensibly marvelous. And—it wouldn’t matter EXCEPT, IT’S TRUE!! I mean, it’s true truth. I mean, it’s like what Christ said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So, it is of vital importance to consider. And, Michael considered it, and he accepted it, and now he has settled peace, as well as access to all God’s riches in glory…love, joy, self-control, patience (I’m claiming that one!), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and eternal life. But…surely I don’t really believe in that old fountain of youth line, do I? Well, surely I do believe that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten (‘uniquely begotten’) Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3: 16-17). That’s God’s promise; all we have to do is believe it. And, if we have trouble believing, God even provides for that: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). So, that’s our good news of 1980! The bad news is that Alan is still working awfully hard, and we both need grace and endurance to cope well with that. He will probably be done in a year from this summer, and at this moment is most interested in practicing in Petoskey, Michigan, although he also daydreams about Florida, New England, or California. I also daydream but agree with my eldest son, who said recently to his father, “You pick the tree, Daddy, and I’ll help you chop it down.” [Aaron fell asleep after having spread chewing gum all over his pants and the carpet, although it doesn’t show up too well in this picture. After that, chewing gum became contraband for many years!]
The boys and I keep busy and have fun just trying to grow up. Speaking of good news, we’ve started a Good News Club for grade school children on Tuesdays, and we have a Bible Club for preschoolers on Friday (which Aaron helps me teach). And, one parting word from Alan, who reminds me every day: “Praise the Lord for good health!” We’re all healthy—what a great blessing that is! We pray for you great spiritual and physical health in 1981!P.S.— And thanks a million for coming to visit, Mom and Dad! We love you both so dearly, and Christmas wouldn’t have been at all Christmasy without you! The F, A, and M encyclopedias are already getting their bindings properly loosened! I was going to start on the #1 Child Craft book, but the boys sat on the couch for an hour this morning looking from cover to cover at the one on animals, so before rest time we read the sections on reptiles and dinosaurs. I think I’m going to let them choose and mark which sections I’ve read instead of treating them like textbooks. Michael had to go to the bathroom after about ten pages. I thought he was getting bored, so I continue to read. “No! Don’t read until I get back!!” he begged. Good! They are both going to get a great education!
Jonny Brown Bear discovered the gingerbread house while Aaron, Michael, and I were putting together Michael’s new jigsaw puzzle of the bloodhounds on the doghouse. Little did I consider why Jon was being so quiet under the table! Michael dropped a puzzle piece off the table, and as he retrieved it screeched, “Mom, Jonny’s spreading poot all over the floor!” He was oozing with brown, mushed cookie—all over him and his clothes, the floor, table and chair legs, and even my pants (where he’d climbed my legs). He grinned happily, “Ga! Ga!” and crawled towards me, blissfully unaware. What a guy!