Happy New Year, everybody - also known as the Eighth Day of Christmas. So here it is, January One, a brand spanking new year, ready to be written on by each one of us.
We spent yesterday afternoon and evening over at Joe's house in Orlando (Rebekah's plumber brother). Pretty much all Rebekah's sibs were there - Joe, Jesse, Rachel and Rebekah - the only MIA was her oldest brother, Roy. Then add an assortment of spouses, cousins and parents - and I have to say the place rocked!
Most interesting - always - was watching various uncles and cousins try to blow the rest of us up via firework mayhem. More than one explosive "got loose" and ran amok.
And there was laughter; good spirits and genuine joy. It's a real tonic to set up the beginnings of a fresh calendar in the context of such genuine love and warmth and unbounded goodwill.
We drove home fairly early because Andrew had to get up this morning in good time to make his flight:Tampa - Charlotte - Frankfurt - Bahrain. It will be a long day and a half for him before he arrives "home" again in the Middle East Saturday evening. But is was a great visit with much joy and giving and feasting and love.
So it is a bittersweet New Year's Day. The gift this 8th day of Christmas is very much family, very much the joy of such positive relationships with our adult children, very much understanding and grasping - more than ever, the depth of the goodness that this life can be...
...But at the same time there is the difficulty involved in any letting go, any releasing into the unknown, any sense that this is all so vulnerable. Not vulnerable in its quality or in terms of tenuous relationships - but vulnerable inasmuch as we live and love in this broken world - a place in which, while we may be agents of positive change, we are at the same time are exposed to everything that defines that brokenness and need for redemption.
So travel safely Andrew; live an eloquent testimony to the veracity of the Gospel; witness to the light by living as light. And may God keep you, always, in the palm of his hand....