Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Christmas letter

Well, I'll be back later with pictures from Mom's 60th birthday celebration and then Abigail's 3rd birthday. . . Merry Christmas!

Dear family and friends,

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:4-6). God is building his family (and he’s been planning to do so since before the creation of the world—see Romans 8:15-17, 22-23 and Ephesians 1:3-6)!

We’ve long celebrated Jesus’ birth as a part of God’s plan to redeem mankind. But Christmas has become even dearer to us this year as we’ve pondered the truth that Jesus came so that we could be adopted as God’s sons. We were once alienated from Christ by our sin, strangers to God’s promises and without hope, but God reached across all barriers and drew us into His family! And now, we are heirs together with the Son of God. Amazing!

Nathan is now in his seventh year of full-time work at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. We’re thankful that while he continues balancing varying job responsibilities, he has more help this year and thus his hours are more regular (especially helpful with a class schedule to juggle too!). Nathan just completed one of his more enjoyable semesters taking Economics and Human Resource Management and is headed into two of his last five classes this spring.

Julia continues to keep the children of friends in our home a few days a week. This fall we’ve cared for two baby boys as well as for preschoolers (not all on the same day!) and so Julia and Abigail have both had opportunity to practice their infant skills.

We still enjoy teaching the second graders at Heritage Bible Church. Each class of seven and eight year olds is full of such fun (and different) personalities . . . They prevent any hour from becoming routine! We delight to teach them of the God who made them, loves them, and seeks to redeem them from the curse of the fall. . . that He might display his greatness and worth to all the world.

Our little girl turned three last week and thinks she’s nearly grown. Abigail is an energetic chatterbox (with an incredible vocabulary) and keeps us hopping too. Though she loves helping Mommy and Daddy and enjoys all of her toys, you’ll most often find Abigail caring for her baby dolls. Some days she’s their mommy, some days their babysitter, and some days their big sister. But she’s forever rocking, bouncing, feeding, kissing, instructing, washing or changing her babies.

Since Abigail was 21 months old (about the time she gained the skill of using words to communicate!), she’s been asking God to add a baby to our family (as she’s watched him give babies to many other families). We are thrilled to share with you that God is answering her prayer and ours. God led us on a painful journey called “secondary infertility,” and now we rejoice in His leading us to add to our family through adoption! Even during engagement we discussed our desire to adopt, but considered the possibility to be several years out. Now we believe that God has been working to change our time table to align with His.

We plan to adopt a newborn domestically. Our homestudy is complete and we pray and wait to learn what child the Lord has for us. God has worked much in our hearts through this process. Nathan has expressed his excitement at the opportunity to learn and try to model God’s relationship with His people as the adoptive father of a transracial family. Will you pray for all of us?

You can watch for the baby announcement and keep up with pictures and news of our family at our blog Enjoy celebrating Christ this season!

With love,
Nathan, Julia, & Abigail Garner

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