Christmas Letter From A Cousin

Even if my nose didn’t get cold on frosty mornings, it would still be able to tell me winter is here. On shivery days, when I am next door tending to the dogs and chickens at the crack of dawn, the smoke from Dad’s wood-burning stove is rising from the chimney and often drifts down over the yard. The smell always brings to mind the welcoming warmth of my parents’ home.

It would be wonderful if everyone in the world had a warm, loving home where they were greeted with open arms and exclamations of affection. But that’s not the way it is. There does exist, however, an eternal home characterized by unimaginable joy, peace, and love. God is preparing this place for all who are His. And if we desire to belong to this most loving Father, we may! John 1:12 says, speaking of Jesus, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God —“.

World's First KING sized bed!

World’s First KING sized bed!

The glory that Jesus shared with the Father before the world began was left behind when He stepped into time and was born into what we would call privation. A manger was His cradle although He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Our Christmas celebrations look back to Jesus’ first coming. Next time He comes, His own will go home with Him.

2014 has been a year we won’t forget. In May we discovered that Mom has lung cancer. They told us it was treatable but could not be cured. She had chemotherapy through September, when her colon was perforated, requiring immediate surgery. She is facing another major surgery in a few weeks, from which we hope she is able to heal completely before more chemo is necessary. The cancer has remained “stable” since August. Mom has little energy but gets around very well. She goes to church and other places with Dad; handles various, small, household chores; and continues to be a blessing to all who know her.

Dad takes great care of Mom and manages to get a ton of other things done, too. This summer he custom built a rolling stool to facilitate harvesting his butter beans. He also picked gallons of blueberries to freeze and slid into the pond on the lawnmower a few times! He still keeps honey bees but has been disappointed with their productivity. This fall he recovered his greenhouse and installed a repurposed heating device. He cuts and splits wood year round.

Corey and his family moved into a new-to-them house this summer. They’re all doing well. Jonathan could have his driver’s license by the time they come at Christmas. Kate is an officer on the drill team at school, and Ian is nearly tall enough to look me in the eye. Corey and Joanna have been just a little busy(!) with their jobs and getting the new home furbished.

I’m learning more about cooking and more about my beloved mother. How grateful I am to be near and available to help Mom and Dad some. It’s not been easy, but the fire is the Refiner’s, and He is using this like He uses everything – for His purpose and His glory.

~Melanie Blackburn

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