The Christmas Story—A Message Of Hope.

 Christmastime Greetings dear Friends and Family

2012
*****
The anticipation of Christmas celebrations and traditions become a little sweeter with each passing year.   Perhaps it is growing older and wiser that allows me to see with a greater precision, and hold in my heart a little more deeply, the MESSAGE OF HOPE given to us at Christmastime——-(Luke 2).
If you have  been a long time recipient of my newsletter, you know the great care and thought that goes into selecting “just the right theme”,   a theme that both summarizes a bit of our lives, and brings to you a special Christmas blessing all in one.   2012 has been a remarkable journey of thankfulness, 1000 gifts in all.   Well, almost.  Recent reflections upon my list (projected to be complete by December 31st) allowed me to see at a glance, the incredible richness that 12 short months can hold.   So it is, through bits and pieces of that treasured list, that I share another year in the life of our family with you. 

*****    


*Sitting by the fire with lifelong friends, sharing deep, thought provoking conversation about life’s joys and sorrows, until the wee hours of the morning greet us.
*A beautiful neighborhood, perfect for taking long walks.
*The amazing people we get to meet every single day, the lives we get to touch.
*Our church family and the camaraderie with good pastor friends and families.
*Moments that keep us real, keep us grounded, and keep us thankful.
*Outrageous laughter at the dinner table and sometimes a quiet evening of reflection.

*Growing personally and professionally.  

*The fruit of yesterday’s labor, returning to bless. 
*Studying chemistry with Matt, taking him for his drivers permit, and hearing his name called for the MVP of his high school baseball team.
*A midweek train ride to New England that yields quality time with Sarah and visiting relatives.  Proofreading the countless essays that go along with an English/Journalism major, and splurging on cinnamon lattes during a cold rainy day.
*Fears and uncertainties that drive us to our knees—together.
*Kitchen table opportunities, Boardroom opportunities, and expressions of love that come in all shapes and sizes. 

*The ability to embrace the mundane or to create new and fresh (they both have their place).

*Seeing the deeper things of God taking root in our lives.
*The gift of a husband’s love and the 1000 ways he shows it after 21 years together.
*The grit and honesty it takes, being a trailblazing family—never a dull moment.
*Those parts of the journey that seem bleak, they show us what we are really made of.
*Enough good books and enough good friends to last a lifetime.
*Gardening…..a family affair.
*Tiny glimpses of God’s infinite power.
*The privilege of accompanying Rick as he opens a PA Senate Session in prayer.
*A stroll through Central Park , reflections at Ground Zero and other NYC sights.                                                                                                                                           Manhattan at Christmastime—nothing in the whole world like it.
*Joy unspeakable.
And last, but very far from least, Rick’s very own weekly version of “Tuesday’s with Morrie”.  He calls it Tuesday’s with Morris—- you know, those relationships and little day to day moments that really count for the big stuff.

****    


Just as thankfulness has been written upon my heart these past 12 months, may the MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS and its MESSAGE OF HOPE be written upon your hearts—both now, and forevermore.

Rick, Crystal, Sarah and Matthew Steimling

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