Guess what we finally got…SNOW! That’s right. We have not had snow until this week!! It’s true…and sometimes that makes us miss Minnesota more than you know. Today, however, I am sitting at my kitchen table looking out my window at a winter wonderland. It’s strange because I actually think Kiel is a prettier town with snow. It seems like cold weather brings people together doesn’t it? It’s my hope that it does. It could have the opposite effect though– it’s so cold that everyone just stays shut up in their houses. Johnny and I are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. This year during the kids’ christmas break we’re planning a “week of winter” during which we will have outside winter activities for jr. high and high school students every day throughout their break to make sure that no one is sitting at home playing X-box for hours on end 😉
(Sometimes I feel like we’re already parents of teenagers.. 😉 My sweet Johnny just loves the snow and being outside in the cold–which most people might think is crazy, but I think these kids are blessed to have a youth pastor with so many creative ideas! Two days after christmas John and our new friend Sid are taking some boys from their sunday school class winter camping. Sid is from the UP and has done this kind of thing before so they are totally prepared for what lies ahead. They have already gathered firewood and stashed it like good ol’ mountain men.;-)
Tomorrow morning, before the service, the youth will be hosting a pancake breakfast as a fundraiser for our missions trip to St. Paul with Youth Works. We’re hoping for a great turn out and are very happy for all the parents and students who will be there to help. Please pray it goes well. Also please pray for the leadership team as we prepare for this trip.
Tomorrow’s Sunday service will be the annual Christmas Cantata in which the choir will be singing. Arthur, the choir director, has also asked John and I to sing so we will be singing one of our favorite Christmas songs, “You are Near” by our friend Drew Collins.
As we look ahead to Christmas, I find myself full of joy and anticipation. John and I recently attended a Christmas concert at Lakeland College with a friend that was accompanying the choir. While we listened, the music brought us back to our years of singing in Christmas at Crown. It was strange because while many of the songs were the same songs we’d sung at Crown, something was very different. As I thought about it further I realized it was that the choir’s faces did not express at all the joy of which they were singing. Dr. Donalson always used to remind us of what we were singing about by bringing us the history of the songs sung as well as sharing his own joy that the Messiah had come! It was sad to John and I to see that most students appeared to have no idea what they were singing about and although the president claimed that Lakeland was “unapologetically a college of the church”, we wondered how many of their students actually grasped the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The chaplain closed the concert with a prayer that we would have peace in our hearts and that God would be with us. I did not pick up on this, but John left with an uneasiness saying, “But we DO have peace and He HAS come! Why didn’t she tell them that?”
To my Crown friends who remember often hearing Dr. Mann and many other faculty tell us that Crown College is a school like no other, I want to tell you that as cliche as it always sounded, I now understand. Though there is nothing magical about Crown there are not many schools around like it and I was deeply reminded of how fortunate I was to attend such a school that not only claimed to be christian, but where one of the main requirements was to see that we are GROWING in the faith.
KAC will be holding a Christmas Eve service here. This will be the first time I have not been with my immediate and dear church family from Black River for Christmas Eve. I am so excited though, that they will be able to come and share a late christmas with us on Sunday and will also celebrate my sweet Johnny’s birthday with us on Monday! We’re excited to see both my parents and my dear brother Garrett who will be flying home on the 16th. Please pray for the safety of our traveling family.
Finally, I want all of my beloved friends and family to know that due to the amount of money I have spent on stamps this year (with save-the-dates, invitations and thank-you notes) we’ve decided to wait to send out christmas cards until next year. Soo, when you don’t get one, realize you are not being overlooked! We’ve decided to let our parents do the christmas letter writing for one last year =] We do enjoy getting yours tho! In fact, we’ve started a little collection on the wall next to our fridge. =]
Much love and prayers this Christmas season. May you remember sweet words of Drew’s song as you not only prepare your homes, gifts and travel plans, but also prepare your hearts for our King..
“And His name shall be called Emmanuel…God is with us even now. You are near.” -Drew Collins
Love in Christ,
Autumn and John