As I sit down to write this letter on December 19 (earlier than usual for me), we have over a foot of snow on the ground. The experts are predicting much snow this winter and they have a good start in fulfilling that prognostication. Underneath that blanket of white lies the remains of the previous year’s activities: a garden never properly prepared for winter, leaves left unraked, flower beds never completely free of weeds, cracks in the driveway never filled in, and a host of other plans and projects in varying stages of fruition or frustration. All of our failures and omissions have been completely covered in a merciful mantle of beautiful pure white. It looks like we will be having a white Christmas.
This reminds me of a promise in Scripture: Isaiah 1:18. “Come now, let us reason together”, says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us remember that He came to save His people from their sins. Where we have failed in our duties, He has fulfilled them for us. Where we have transgressed, He has paid the penalty for us. Where we have become marred and incomplete, He has covered us with His righteousness so that all will see His glory in us. Just as my yard’s imperfections are covered with brilliant white snow, may God’s mercy blanket us all with His provision of forgiveness and righteousness in Jesus Christ. May we all have this type of white Christmas.
Perhaps the most important family news in this letter is that our 6th grandchild, Micah William Auerbach was just born on December 16, weighing 8 lbs 13 oz and seeming healthy. Amanda is doing well and Jeff was her support and stay through the birth process. Micah is a very good-looking baby and sleeps a lot, but not usually at night. All the other grandkids were excited to see their new little brother. Yes, they plan on having more kids, God willing.
In the interest of saving my space and your time, I will condense the usual family narrative into summary form as follows:
Bob: currently unemployed after nearly 30 years in Emergency Medicine, planning on doing some urgent care starting in January. Getting old fast, stopped running due to knee pain. Highlight of year was 7-day Grand Canyon rafting trip with Margie led by a creation scientist from Canyon Ministries to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Other notable events: John Bunyan Bible Conference, Ocean City (NJ) Bible Conference, Rockwood Acres Family camp (thanks to all you Clemens), family reunion on the Outer Banks (thanks Mom!), trip to Creation Museum with Auerbachs. Still teaching Sunday School and gardening.
Margie: Active as ever. Still teaching her “Titus 2” Bible Study and doing some pottery. Doing some public speaking on behalf of our local Care-Net pregnancy center regarding premarital abstinence. Home schooling Sam and doing some tutoring on the side. Caring for grandkids. Margie now owns a 37 acre property ½ mile down the road toward Jeff & Amanda. She is currently renovating the house (with the help of contractors) and we hope to move in by Spring. Our stone house is currently for sale. Anyone interested? She also oversaw renovations on our cabin in Lewis County, making it much more attractive and comfortable.
Lizzie and husband Mike still homestead out in Yelm, Washington. Lizzie raises multitudes of animals and sells, milks, or eats them. Mike works as an electrician. They are happy in their agrarian lifestyle. L. spends time working at a fish hatchery and is paid in salmon. Mike can reportedly fix any motorized vehicle so they have an interesting fleet of “pre-owned” conveyances. L. recently rescued a sick dehydrated dog and called me for medical instructions. I believe she is up to 5 dogs now.
Gabrielle: Working at Jefferson County Children’s Home and impacting troubled youth. Taking online courses for Master’s degree in Psychology/Family Counseling from Liberty University. Had role in local production of “Oliver”. Loves to sing and play our baby grand piano. Sings in “worship team” at church. Lovely young lady with glowing personality and a pleasure to have her here at home. Recent trip to Toronto to see “Le Miz”. Still waiting for Mr. Right.
Isaac: Sophomore at Grove City College north of Pittsburgh. Career plans still unsettled, but looks like a business emphasis, perhaps in the food industry. Very interested in a young lady named Alexandra. They will both be arriving in a couple of days. Broke his eye socket while playing rugby. Doing fine. Got his own set of wheels this year. Would not allow any food in car. (You should see his room when he’s home!)
Nathan: First year at Marion (Alabama) Military Institute. Nate has decided that military life is not for him, but is still considering his options for further education and/or career. By his own testimony, Nate is “a stud muffin”. On vacations he works as a boy toy for Hollister at the mall, smiling big to bring in the customers. He says he wants to build things and does have a knack for things mechanical, but where that leads him remains to be seen. He will be visiting Lizzie for 10 days after Christmas.
Samuel: Ninth grade homeschooler. Piano going well. Playing some Chopin, Beethoven, and Schumann. 2nd dan black belt in Tae Kwondo. Getting tall, voice changing, etc. Well-mannered, smart, helpful, tender-hearted, and good-looking kid. Still subject to hissy fits concerning proper use of colon and other punctuation issues. Plans on career in law enforcement of some type. Little kids seem to be in awe of him. He’s fun to have around.
And that is the news from Watertown. We pray all is well with you and pray for a healthy, joyous, and fulfilling New Year for you and your loved ones. Have a blessed Christmas. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bob and Margie Harryman et al.