Saturday, January 01, 2005

Christmas 1997

“I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in the darkness.” John 12:46

Dear Family and Friends,

These days of Advent have been special to us children. Every morning Mom and Dad awaken us with candles in hand, singing Christmas carols. This celebration reminds us that in Bethlehem two thousand years ago a beaming Light was born. We praise God for this Light and welcome it into our home!

In July, our family was overjoyed when Caleb Henley was born! Mom had her best labor yet, sitting on an inflated ball leaning back into Dad’s arms. Caleb laughs and coos and fills our hearts with joy and smiles. He is also our first one with hair. We take delight in brushing, combing, and fluffing it up.

Rebecca (2) is full of love. She potty trained herself nice and early. For the first time in fourteen years we had no one in diapers! Rebecca likes dolls, and is thankful to have an older brother, Jacob, who enjoys playing with her, her dolls, and her stroller.

Jacob (4) is very cute, especially when he gives you one of those smiles that lights up his whole face. He will forever be our innocent little monkey. He has a favorite phrase that sums up his character at this point in life, “Me behave tomorrow.”

Hannah (6) is our girl of grace. She still loves to laugh and giggle. Hannah is quite a mother to Caleb. After he was born, Hannah realized that real babies are so much more fun than dolls, so she makes sure Caleb gets around.

Luke (8) has a heart of sweetness. He has really taken on a love for farm work and follows Isaac to the farm every day. To Luke life is a joy; he is thankful for how the Lord has been gracious to him

Nathaniel (10) has a very considerate heart; he cares for the welfare of others He started taking a carpentry class which he enjoys immensely Nathaniel continues to have a fondness for reading, especially books pertaining to the history of our country. Nathaniel went to Washington D.C. in October, along with Dad, Isaac, and hundreds of thousands of men from around the country, to the Promise Keeper’s Stand in the Gap event.

Isaac (12) had a very exciting year in which his dream for a team of oxen came true (see picture). Since the oxen’s first weeks of life, Isaac has done an incredible job of faithfully training them. He recently built quite a nice looking cart to hook up to his oxen. Isaac took his oxen to the county fair and has been in three parades with them. He is a dedicated worker, always the family’s “right hand man.”

I (14) have had a year of blessings. One was finding a group of teenagers, to meet and pray with, that have a real heart for Christ. This gathering has really encouraged and deepened my faith. I enjoy playing the guitar; it is fun to have an instrument to sing along with. My studies are going well. I’m especially enjoying a program based on the works of a Christian theologian, Francis Schaeffer.

Mom is an amazing example to me. She is not only a mom to me, but a real friend. She has laid down her life at the feet of Jesus and taken up teaching us children, caring for us like only a mom can, and letting each of us children know how special we are. Mom enjoys taking 5:30 a. m. walks with Isaac down to the farm to do the chores.

I am thankful to know the love of my dad and to have open lines of communication with him. I really appreciate how Dad gives so much of his time to his children. Dad really has a love for Mom, which in turn blesses the whole family. Dad still feels privileged to speak up for the poor, as a public defender, in Poughkeepsie. But, above all else, Dad has a strong desire to follow Jesus, for which I’m most grateful. Jesus is the anchor of our home.

Merry Christmas,