Christmas Letter 2010

A couple years ago we were in what the weatherman called an “Exceptional” drought in central Texas, and our Lake Travis was 50 feet below normal.  Then it rained – off and on for a month. And the 52 mile long lake was full again! Amazing! But it all happened just one rain drop at a time; there were a LOT of drops!  (Yes, this is a Christmas letter. Keep going – you’ll see.)

When we pray “Thy Kingdom come… on earth … “, if we really mean it, how is that to happen?

It started in such an ordinary way – a baby born to a poor couple so long ago yet celebrated still today.  The baby became a carpenter walking around doing good, teaching and living a new kind of Life. He said that all the hopes and dreams of a just society for all people, true peace and the blessed Life for everyone (what God has had in mind since creation) has arrived!  Quite a claim, indeed. If we will believe, it has arrived, yet still is coming; begun and in progress.

How does God’s Kingdom come?  With great fanfare or inescapable power?  No.

God’s way takes over the world, one human will at a time, one act of love and kindness at a time, through giving and forgiving, one “drop” at a time.  Like it starts, it continues in ordinary ways. Maybe at Christmas time we can see it the best, when people think of others. And the dark world begins to light up with God’s love.  Just like filling Lake Travis, God’s blessed Life spreads throughout the earth one drop of love at a time. And when we add the drops, it becomes a flood that can fill the world, a flood that can sweep away hates and fears, wars and poverty, terrorism and illiteracy, and bring the blessed Life for all people.  It began that first Christmas. It continues today by you and me and all who will believe and pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

As for us, we’re about the same as last year, just a little slower and older.  We continue to take a lot of road trips, mostly to family. There were two 90th birthday parties for Elaine’s parents in Indiana.  In March we helped them move into assisted living. Joe went to his 50th Selma High School class reunion in Indiana this summer; hard to realize how 50 years have passed!  Elaine volunteers one afternoon a week at a local health clinic for the uninsured (when we’re home).  Joe led a Bible study on Mark and helps collect clothing for the homeless in Austin and takes it to them.  Our greatest joy continues to be our family and especially our 6 grandkids. God has blessed us so much we are trying our best to share and be a blessing to others, one drop at a time.  And we wish the same to all.

We look forward to hearing from our family and friends.  And we say,
Merry Christmas, Ya’ll  Joe & Elaine Vandegriff