Merry Christmas Stonebridge Friends;
Snow is falling beautifully and has been since about two-thirty this morning. This I only know because Kyle told me. I didn’t assume the front desk responsibililities until a little after four a.m. I can see out into snowy riverfront park and from where I am I can enjoy the huge fire burning in the lobby. I looked forward to this quiet time early on Christmas morning to send each of you a greeting.
We spent last weekend in Chicago. Kyle works in the western suburb of Oak Brook so Friday evening we met him at the historic Water Tower in Chicago. As you can imagine the last weekend before Christmas Michigan Avenue was wonderfully abustle. I dropped off the girls to explore the American Girl store and Caf?. I dropped off Charles to meet Kyle. Dan and Wes and I parked the car near Moody and hiked to the meeting point. When we arrived light snow was falling and the Water Tower Square and all of Michigan Ave. was alive. I looked up and I could see Kyle and Chuck standing in the window of the second floor coffee shop over the bookstore overlooking Water Tower Square.
They were sipping coffee and catching up on things. Something about seeing my two oldest sons there warmed me deeply. We joined them and there were hugs and warm greetings between brothers. We were all together for Christmas.
We spent Saturday in Oak Brook. Saturday morning new friends brought over a full delicious breakfast for our whole family. They also treated us to family singing. They are memorizing Psalm 119, the entire Psalm. All the children sang the first twenty-four verses from memory. Their Dad accompanied them on the piano.
Sunday we attended church with Lois’ sister’s family and celebrated Christmas with Lois’ side of the family at their home near South Bend. Sunday night we stayed as late as we could and after a full and happy day began the drive home.
My brother-in-law, Bobby said we would find a South Bend Chocolate Company Coffee Shop on the last service plaza in Indiana so we looked forward to getting a good cup of coffee there before we exited the turnpike and took Interstate 69 North. I was disappointed to discover that the Coffee Shop was east of the exit so we would not be able to get to it without going many, many miles out of our way. We had to settle for coffee from MacDonalds. At the first exit north of the toll road we pulled into the MacDonald’s. I got the order fixed in my mind and fought the cold wind into the restaurant. I saw something behind the counter I have never seen before.
We were the only customers. It was near closing time. Behind the counter a young lady was making “Buckeyes” Since I was born a “Buckeye” myself I acted real, real interested and informed the young lady that I was an official “Buckeye” taster and evaluator and that since I was in a holiday mood I would be willing to donate my services as a special Christmas gesture. She poked one with a toothpick and handed it to me smiling. It was good but I told her I would have to try one with a large cup of fresh black coffee to be for sure.
When I inquired she said she could not sell me any Buckeyes. They were not on the official MacMenu. We ordered and chatted and when they gave us our food I asked how many Buckeyes she would donate to me if I donated a few dollars to her. She asked how many of us there were. I told here I had eight poor, hungry children in the car. She looked like she didn’t believe me so I had to show her a picture.
She gave us more than one a piece. I was right. With coffee they were delicious. I think they should add them to the menu. (I ate more than a man with my repoutation for weight loss should. I considered it a Christmas exception and since then I have been a very good boy).
We got in the cars and headed north. Our new friends were all standing in the window waving good-bye as we pulled away. The car was warm. So were our hearts. Once again I was reminded that God arranges our stops, our wrong turns, everything. He even orchastrates our dissapointments and dark days for our good and His glory. I pointed out to the family that people are almost always open to a smile, a compliment, a gift or an exchange of personal warmth.
I hope you are encouraged by my little story to try to nudge everyone you meet just a notch closer to the Lord Jesus. Without Him we are all doomed no matter how much we have, no matter how favorable our circumstances. With Him we are all blessed no matter how little we have, no matter how difficult our circumstances.
Well, so much for my ramblings. Merry, merry Christmas to you and all yours. Our Family Enrichment Weekend will be March 7-9, 2003 at the Riverfront Character Inn in Flint. More details will be available soon. We are planning a wonderful time for the whole family. I hope you can join us here then.