Christmas Day, 2014
The rain has returned to San Luis Obispo County restoring the color green to our hillsides, meadows and landscape. Coincidently, Peter has also returned home from the middle of his second year at Westmont College. Much like the recent rain, Peter’s return to Templeton is always refreshing to our emotional landscape. He will soon return to college campus for his spring semester studies as well as throwing the javelin for the Westmont Warriors track team. Peter’s college experience is full and moving quickly.
He has been accepted to Westmont’s campus abroad program to study in Europe for the Fall, 2015 semester! It was delightful having Peter home this past summer, working full time and spending lots of time with family and friends.
Melat, a senior at Templeton High School, has the finish line well in view and has applied to several universities for the Fall, 2015-16 college year! We are all waiting to hear the results of those applications to see where she will begin her college journey. In the meantime, Melat is a starter on the Templeton HS Girls Varsity Soccer team, which is off to a competitive pre season schedule and turning the corner to Los Padres League play in the next couple of months. With graduation imminent in June, Melat is raring to head up to the next level of school and life!
Chris continues to manage our household with grace and purpose. With Peter away at college and Melat’s buddies handing out, there are lots of girls around here! She illuminates the home front with compassion and wisdom. It’s not always easy. Chris reads widely and I enjoy her enlightened insights coming from books she’s reading such as Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. We look forward to celebrating our 39th anniversary next month with a weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Actually, Chris and I look for any reason possible to spend time up there together!
As for me, the completion of this school term in June will mark my 35th year teaching high school humanities. The fruit of the Lord’s faithfulness all these years has certainly enriched my soul with deep gratitude and joy. This past fall I enjoyed playing in another Men’s Senior Baseball World Series Tournament (six hardball games in four days) with health and some success. The greatest part of the week in Phoenix is the camaraderie with my Hollywood Stars teammates! Also, this past summer I was able to land a job as a member of the stage crew for the California Mid State Fair Main Stage concert series. So for two full weeks I worked back stage, on stage, the “front of the house” and even some spotlights for concerts with Journey,the Steve Miller Band, Tower of Power, Lady Antebellum, Train, the Doobie Brothers, Zac Brown and even the somewhat notorious Kid Rock. It was physically exhausting work, but over all quite fun and different than my regular work!
A reflection on this Christmas season reminds me of the first angelic announcement to shepherds regarding the birth of Jesus in obscure Bethlehem: And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord …” Luke 2:10-11 ESV
The centerpiece of the angelic announcement is not about giving or receiving gifts with those we know and love, nor is it even about making Christmas a tremendous family time. The simple, profound message is that a Savior was born! We are individuals, families, communities, a nation and a world that desperately needs the Savior Jesus Christ.
Building a bridge from Bethlehem to our new year, we conclude with an inspirational, insightful quote taken from Francis of Assisi’s Letters to Rulers of People:
“Keep a clear eye towards life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – fading symbols of honor, trappings of power – but only what you have been given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
May there be peace on your journey and the enjoyment of meaningful conversations throughout the year to come.