December 23, 2005
I'm posting our personal family letter that we sent out this year. Please know that I consider you both a friend, and as a fellow believer in Christ, family. So, from our family to yours – Merry CHRISTmas!
Christmas 2004 2005
So sorry this letter is late, (by about a year,) Steve had a computer crash and didn't have a good back-up. (Feel free to give my dear "Mr. I.T. Man" a hard time about that.)
Dear Friends and Family,
Not only are you receiving our Christmas 2004 letter, albeit updated. We are also sending last year's picture. If that wasn't tacky enough, we don't even look like this photo anymore. The kids all have braces and shorter hair. I added the requisite pound-per-year. Steve became a bit grayer and, subsequently, even more dashing.
All those changes are just the ones you can see on the outside. With three teenagers, we are officially living in the House of Hormones! While Clancy was yet on the threshold of becoming an official teenager, we celebrated Steve's 55th birthday at one of his favorite restaurants. Tucker astutely, if not tactfully, observed, "Hey, we are probably the only family in this restaurant who can order from the Kids' Menu and get the Senior Citizen's Discount. Next thing you know we’ll be getting our meal for free."
Hormones have been Haven's friend and she is growing into a beautiful young woman. To be sure, this development is not lost on the boys. Returning from Church Camp last summer I asked her if she made any new friends. Exasperated, she explained that all the girls were only interested in chasing the boys. She, on the other hand, informed me that she discovered the best way to get a boy's attention was to simply ignore him and walk past, tossing a casual smile on the way by. She would then count and see how long it took him to come running after her. (How does she know this stuff already? and God, have mercy on these boys!)
A few months ago, out of the blue, Clancy asked me how I would feel if she married a man who had a tattoo. Attempting to keep my cool, while trying to act cool, I casually responded, "I wouldn’t be thrilled but I understand that what is on the inside of the man is what is most important." She pressed in, "What if the tattoo was of a naked lady?" Pulling my best Dr. Phil, I returned, "Well, the real question is, 'How would you feel about that?" "I don't think I would like it," she answered honestly, "but as a wedding gift he could have clothes drawn on the tattoo for me. Or, better yet, he could leave the clothes off and have the face redrawn to look like me." Yikes, I want my little girl back.
Even Clancy's dog, Donut, is PMS-ing! She entered her time during the Christmas holidays last year and was "married" to a handsome stud named Getty. They spent their honeymoon at his house over the New Year's weekend and she came back glowing - but still acting like a real "female dog." 1 C-section, 2 puppies, 3 sonograms and a 4-tune in vet bills later, let's just say…we got our "fix" of dog breeding.
The teenage years not included, have you ever wondered why do we do the things we do? Especially at Christmas time! For instance, what in the world does a big pine tree with blinking bulbs and dangling doodads have to do with Baby Jesus? And can someone please tell me why we climb on top of our roofs, risking life and limb, to outline our houses with 40-watt icicles (in 70° weather, no less)? I'm not even going to bring up the whole fruitcake phenomenon.
A few years ago I decided enough was enough. I determined to make Christmas for our family more about the birth of the Savior and less about the death of the savings account. In an attempt to redeem the meaning I investigated all of the holiday traditions we were so blissfully, blindly following.
Guess what I found? Jesus! He was there when we dressed the evergreen tree, when Dad dressed up in a red suit, and when we ate turkey and dressing! Yes, we were caught up in all the trappings of Christmas but I discovered that it was neither the enemy nor the world that set the bait. It quickly became my desire to lure parents into the hustle and bustle of Christmas and then set them free to join their children in the celebration—guilt-free. I'd like to share one of my favorite discoveries, which eventually ended up in my book, The ADVENTure of Christmas.
In medieval Europe, plays were performed throughout the year based on the lives of Bible characters. December 24 was declared Adam and Eve's Day and the setting of this day's drama was the Garden of Eden. Remember what happened? The serpent tempted Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. And she did. The play ended with God sending Adam and Eve out of paradise as a consequence of their sin.
There was only one minor problem in staging this drama: where to find a fruit tree in winter! Some Renaissance stage director must have discovered that with a little smoke and mirrors he could turn a pine tree strung with apples into the one-and-only Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This "costumed" tree delighted the audience and became the star of the show.
The decorated evergreen delighted audiences, even upstaging the actors. Years after the medieval plays were no longer performed, German families continued to decorate their own evergreens with shiny red apples on December 24 and called them "paradise trees."
Through the years, the decorations became more and more elaborate. Mothers hid gingerbread cookies in the branches. Nuts dipped in sugar were nestled among the pine needles. Fruits and vegetables formed from marzipan candy hung from the boughs. The family Christmas tree became so sugar-coated, it was often appropriately referred to as the "sugar tree."
But no matter how sweet the treats, the most important ornaments were tiny, round wafers of bread hidden among the other decorations. These thin biscuits represented the body of Christ that was broken on the cross for our sins. And so hidden among the forbidden fruit, through which death entered the world, were signs of Jesus Christ, the One who gives us eternal life.
As we decorate our Christmas trees this year, I hope you are reminded of Romans 5:19—"Because one person [Adam] disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other Person [Jesus] obeyed God, many people will be made right in God’s sight."
Until next year (or the next) I pray you find the treats and treasures our sweet Lord has hidden in such odd places as hormonal teenagers, holiday traditions, and hope-filled tomorrows.
Steve, Lisa, Tucker, Haven, Clancy and Donut Cauble
Posted by weblion at 03:44 PM