A NEW ADDITION
Our family continues to grow this year with the birth of our granddaughter Isabella Jayne. She is the daughter of our daughter Jennifer and her husband Todd. Bella weighed in at 7 lbs. 1 oz.and 20 3/4 in long this past Saturday (Nov. 20) at 6:23 am.
Bella joined us 3 1/2 weeks earlier than expected. She is a sweet little girl who has features of both her mother and father.
Leslie and I feel most blessed with all three daughters now married and now two grandchildren. God seems to give us the true desire of our hearts. Leslie and I have prayed for the girls to find good Christian husbands and start their own families. We have been delighted with the choices the girls have made. Now we have the joy of our girls having children. Being a grandparent is indeed GRAND.
Each age of life has God’s blessings for us. I am enjoying this stage.
Thank you dear Lord for blessing us in each stage of life. — Ray
This was a great weekend at the England house. We had at home for two days all three daughters, ourson-in-law, and our middle daughter’s fiance. We celebrated a tradition from Leslie’s grandparents – Serbian Christmas. Leslie’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Yugoslavia in the early 1900’s. They brought with them many fun food recipes and a variety of traditions including celebrating Christmas in January rather than December.
A white candle is lit at the start of the evening’s festivities. Food and fellowship last until the candle goes out. I hate to say it, but the candle usually outlasts me.
Our daughters have chosen to continue this tradition, celebrating it on the Saturday closest to the January 7 date. Keeping the tradition ties them to their heritage. Celebrating it with their friends and playing modern games makes it a contemporary celebration that will carry on into the future.
The church should follow a similar pattern. We must be tied to the biblical truth of our heritage. Singing contemporary songs and trying new methods brings the eternal truth into the present and prepares us for the future.
At Second Baptist we have two morning worship services. At 8:31 we have a contemporary worship service designed to bring our biblical faith into a modern setting and reach out to people without a traditional church background. At 11:00 we have a more traditional service but still with a contemporary attitude designed to bring our biblical faith to the modern setting with traditional hymns and to reach out to people with a more traditional church background. Why do we offer two different approaches? In our contemporary setting there are a variety of approaches to worship. We can offer two for people to choose from at least two.
If you are not in church, we invite you to join us at Second Baptist. If not Second Baptist then choose another church. There are many good Bible teaching churches around. Find one. I encourage you to get involved in church and help bring the gospel to people today. Affirm the past, live in the present, and prepare for the future.
I know today is January 2, but it is the first “working” day of the new year for most of us. New Year’s Day for me was a blur of football, meals, family coming and going, a number of naps, and listening to countless phone calls Jennifer was receiving giving her congratulations. Oh, by the way, New Year’s Eve Todd asked our daughter Jennifer to marry him, and she said yes. Their wedding will be in October.
Jennifer and Todd graduated from seminary together, sitting next to each other at graduation. They had been on a mission trip together the previous year to Asia. Jennifer moved home to work, and Todd returned home to South Carolina where he eventually took a staff position with a church in Spartanburg. Both Jennifer and Todd have an interest in missions and hope to end up over seas.
It has been fascinating to me to watch another generation live out their life story in Christ. This is a new year, and there are new life stories all around us. God is still at work.
What life story are you writing in the new year?
I looked at my last post today and couldn’t believe that the last time I wrote was September 26. It seems that the days get fuller and fuller. Is it that way for you as well? It seems that I could cram days of events in a few hours when I was younger. As a child I would cram the days full and still have time to stare at clouds or the stars.
For Christmas this year I attempted to recapture some of this lost time. I gave Leslie a telescope for “us” to use to stare at some stars. Leslie had enjoyed a small telescope as a child and used to speak fondly of star gazing. I have wanted to give her another telescope for years. This year was right. I researched, found a good telescope at a great price and took a chance on giving it to her. I have picked out a spot on a friend’s farm far from any street lights and can’t wait for a warm, clear night to set up and stare. If it is a Friday, I might be tempted to stay with Leslie all night just staring at stars. I hope it brings back old memories for Leslie and creates new memories for both of us.
One of the great things about empty nests is that we have more time to spend together. I enjoy being with Leslie more today than ever in our marriage. We love our daughters and son-in-law. But it is great to love one another!
I don’t know where you are in the process of life. You may be at a period of life where you are completely wrapped up in your children — all of your time controlled by their needs and child-rearing. Keep in touch with your spouse. There will come a time when it is primarily you two together. Build your relationship so that you will find joy in being together. God knew what He was saying when He said “the two shall become one.”
God is good — and He wants us to find joy in our marriages.