Dear family and friends,
Greetings in the Name above all names—that of Jesus Christ, our Lord! Certainly we have reason for joy this Christmas; in the fullness of time God fulfilled His promise and sent the Savior. Can it be that God planned and brought about such a redemption of His sinful people—through sending His own Son to earth to fulfill all righteousness as a man, to suffer and die in the place of the guilty, and then to rise victorious over sin and death? Oh, the mercy of God who then credits the righteousness of Jesus to those sinners who hope in Him alone!
A few days ago, we celebrated Abigail’s second birthday. The whole experience delighted her: Uncle Cabet’s (Julia’s brother Caleb) visit, candles, frosting, ice cream, and then the surprise of presents! Abigail can jump (up off the ground now) and turn summersaults and is turning into a little chatterbox. For awhile her vocabulary seemed stuck at, “Dada,” “no,” “uh-oh,” and “ruff, ruff.” But just before 20 months she started repeating words and now she’s trying to communicate all the time. Abigail counts from 2-16 (skipping 8, 13, and 15 faithfully), knows everyone’s name, loves colors and animals and especially people! She’s Mommy’s helper and imitates lots; putting in contacts, cooking for Daddy, caring for and disciplining her babies, and taking them shopping in the stroller. She is learning of Jesus and can tell you that He came as a baby, but now He’s the King in Heaven. She knows that He loves her and that He says, “Children, obey parents in Lord—This right.” She knows that He can make things better that no one else can.
Nathan’s finished five years of full-time work at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and is as busy there as ever. His primary responsibility is managing the airport’s Geographic Information System. He also directs the charter handling service and occasionally fills in as an operations supervisor. He’s about a third of the way through his MBA program at BJU. We’re grateful for the opportunities and experiences God is providing through the airport.
Julia’s happy to be a full-time homemaker and mommy. Last winter/spring, Julia worked part-time from home making phone calls to a local company training new employees. However, mid-spring, we decided that babysitting is a better “job fit” for us (and provides great opportunities for Abigail to learn to interact rightly with other children).
We’re still thrilled to be part of the local body of Christ at Heritage Bible Church and love our class of seven and eight year olds. Our new Shepherding Group—made up of those who work with the children and youth—blesses us often.
We travelled a lot this year . . . to Georgia visiting Mom and Dad Garner and Nathan’s grandparents, to Tennessee to spend time with Mom and Dad Mee and family, and to Alabama to see the Talleys (Nathan’s sister Talitha, her husband Stephen and their four children—Abigail’s beloved cousins) who are now in a new home with their own land surrounding it. The first weekend in May, Julia and Abigail met Nathan in Orlando, FL after a conference and we took our first “family-of-three vacation” –two days at Sea World. We also travelled to Virginia several times for events including a 60th anniversary celebration for the Julia’s (Johnson) grandparents and a last visit with Mimi (Julia’s Grandmother Patteson) and later a memorial service for her. July 4th, we all flew to California and spent five days with our friends the Swillums. Mid-July, Julia’s sister Lydia (who, by the way, was married last spring to Tom Dever and is expecting twins next summer!) graduated from the Police Academy in Columbia. The following weekend we joined Mom and Dad Mee and clan in Charleston for a weekend at the beach and staying in KOA camping cabins.
The times in between and since have been full with work, school, Sunday school lessons, visits from friends and family and lots of babysitting (good thing Julia and Abigail love children and babies!). “Chris-is li-ights” are a delight to our little girl and her face lights up every time we turn the Christmas tree lights on. We pray that one day soon Jesus will bring a much greater joy and light to Abigail’s heart.
Our hearts are often weak and doubting and fearful as we face the questions and hurts of life on earth, but we rejoice to remember that God is mighty and that He will accomplish all His good will. We stand on the present and eternal hope of Christ Jesus’ perfect work in our stead and His loving orchestration of the details of our lives for the glory of the Father. May Jesus be your great hope and joy this Christmas! We love you.
Nathan, Julia, & Abigail Garner