Christmas Letter 2011

In this Advent and Christmas season, we are so grateful for God’s blessings, his faithfulness, and his promises. We are enjoying your cards and notes which remind us of your love and friendships. Sure, we also see heartaches, pain, confusion, and loss of loved ones, but through it all we know God cares for every one of us and knows our needs. Our goal is to become more like Jesus, to understand and obey His teachings.
As for family news, Elaine’s parents are now 91, live in assisted living in Marion, IN. We managed to get our 2 children Jon and Joan and their families together with us for a week at a Texas beach this summer. You can see from the photo how our beautiful grandchildren are growing up! Such energetic and smart kids – yes, we love ’em all!

As friends and family visit us, we explore Texas. To get away from the Texas heat and drought, we’ve visited southern California, Grand Canyon, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Florida attraction was Space Shuttle Endeavor’s last launch. We trek to Indiana and Maryland every few months to keep in touch with parents and Jon’s family. We’ve joined celebrations for birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, and a wedding (Elaine’s nephew Jeremiah).
Despite the turmoils of storms, fires, wars, economic and political disarray, we look forward to God’s presence in our lives and yours in 2012.

May peace be your treasure to open and share
this season and all year through.
Best wishes to each of you, and a Happy New Year!
Elaine & Joe Vandegriff

How does the old message of Christmas about “Peace on earth” even apply to our troubled world anymore? It all seems to be such a mess! One terrorist bomb can generate enough suffering and hate to last for generations.  But the followers of Jesus must stay focused on God’s mission of mercy and love for His world.  The table seems totally tilted against Jesus and His non-violent ways, but this is where Jesus calls us to believe His message and follow Him and His example of self-giving love that will change the world, one loving act at a time.  If you want to read more on this, take this link to an experience I had in May 2011.