This is the 2008 McConnell Christmas Letter
I’m writing this Thanksgiving Weekend in the South Bay. We’ve been with our daughters, son-in-laws, granddaughters and friends enjoying ourselves and one another. Awaiting our flight to LA in the Colorado Springs airport we heard our first Christmas Carol of the season and naturally a stocking full of memories took center stage…
Our girls were little, the colored lights on the tree bigger… the cavalcade of brightly wrapped presents unending… candles, wreaths. Grandma’s etched glass candy dish of M&M’s… the smell of the turkey and/or roast and au jus filling the house (and neighborhood). Telling the Story of Christmas, humming and singing carols, laughter… and of course the pressure of choosing the right gifts and the desire to give more than we ever could. We remembered and wept over Christmas’ past and crackling fires encircled by family no longer with us... there’s nog and the never-eaten fruitcake… watching A Wonderful Life… and of course the Christmas Eve dash to get to church on time, assemble the bikes/etc. and purchase the always-forgotten AAA batteries.
And then we pondered Christmas’ yet to come… how big will this family be, what will this generation’s celebrations include/look like? Where will they be? What memories have we yet to create… and what traditions will our children and grandchildren write up in their Christmas letter?
Somewhere in all of this we wondered what we’ve pondered for several Christmas’ now… have we yet understood and experienced Christmas fully? Might there be more significance to this holiday than we’ve grasped?
As much as we anticipate, enjoy and celebrate the coming of God amongst us and the Story of His invading this world to rescue and offer the life we have all yearned for… hoped for and now may embrace I’m not sure we see clearly all that Christmas means/brings/holds. It’s still a bit opaque. Foggy. The music, lights, tree and all the magic moments speak of something beyond them. They are the elements of a sacrament. They are not it… but they speak of it.
All this to say… we welcome Christmas! More than ever we’re listening, awaiting, watching with arms and hearts wide open for all God has for us in this season. And we hope His best for you!
May He come in a hundred different ways for you: may you find Him next to you in a long line at Best Buy; jumping out of a holiday newsletter/card or a bowl of punch; saddling up next to you as you sing “O Holy Night”; or perhaps late at night as you sit quietly gazing at a tree all aglow lost in your own memories. May you know His love and your place in His heart, may His rescue and life be yours!
Our picture is a family shot taken at Jared and Meagan’s (our second daughter) April wedding in Palm Desert. The newlyweds entre into married life has been notable, indeed, exceptional. Delightfully in love they’re enjoying their little nook/apartment at the beach. They’re both working hard as a Pilates instructor in Manhattan Beach (Meagan) and in advertising for Luxury, Life & Style Magazine in Hermosa Beach (Jared). Their smiles bring a from-the-bottom-of-your toes-to-the-tippy-top-of-your-head smiles to every stinking person they know.
Lindsey (our first daughter) is standing with her husband Vladimir…. I mean Jon (he really took one for the team in this family picture). They’re living in a very large story in Redlands, CA, where they are birthing a church. We’re amazed at all that’s required of both of them in this massively opposed undertaking… and how very, very well they are living up to it. Lindsey is a stunning young woman/bride/mom and Vladimir… I mean Jon, is a man/husband/father/pastor who has what it takes. The entire family could not be prouder of them! Together they are raising our two youngest angels: Jacqueline Ruby (4 in Feb) and Annie Marie (turned 2 in Sept.). It’s very tempting at this point in the letter to include 67 photos of each with page upon page of stories of the joy they bring us all!
Lori and I continue to live in this huge Story we’ve fallen into. We’re caught up and into something we never could have constructed ourselves… it found us, lured us… and here we are in Colorado lost in a mission with a tribe of gloriously gifted apostles, prophets, teachers, brave hearts, knuckleheads and a guy from Pittsburgh. And though we ache for so much we do not have we have tasted a joy that is full, inexpressible and full of glory. Come again Lord Jesus!
May this be a merry season for us all! – Craig & Lori McConnell