Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas letter 2009

Dear family and friends,

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Incredible. “The Son of God. . . divested himself of heavenly wealth and became an impoverished child so the fragile flesh of humanity could be taken up into God’s embrace” (Miroslav Volf). What lengths God went to to ransom His children—in the incarnation of Christ and in His substitutionary life and death. What joy to realize God’s adoption of us making us heirs with the risen Christ Himself!

Last year we told you of God’s leading us to adopt a child, and He indeed added to our family this year! February 3rd we learned of the five-day-old baby girl who would become our daughter. We excitedly gathered (more) paperwork, signatures, fingerprints, baby clothes and diapers and hurried to Alabama to meet our sweet Hannah Elisabeth (her middle name is after her mommy—Julia Elisabeth—and after her great, great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Cole who persevered in faith through much adversity). The foster family placed Hannah in our arms February 7th and we stayed in Alabama (with Nathan’s Grandmother Lane who made her home ours) the next week waiting for interstate paperwork approvals. Finally, we brought our two little girls home and re-entered “normal” life with our precious new gift and a lot less sleep.

Abigail devoted herself to her long-awaited sister with much love and affection. The biggest challenge we had was keeping our grown-up three year old from picking up her infant sister whenever we turned our backs. She was really very gentle and careful, but three is not old enough to carry Baby up the stairs! By three months old, Hannah loved Abigail back and showered her with smiles and coos and the first real laugh. We were grateful to finalize Hannah’s adoption back in Alabama on May 11 (with several grandparents present) and soon afterwards to receive the new birth certificate for Hannah Elisabeth Garner—officially and permanently our daughter!

Last week Abigail turned four and was delighted to receive several “dress-up” outfits. She loves to pretend—especially that she’s a mommy or a bride. She has learned most of her letters and can write her name and Hannah’s. Hannah is ten months old and trying hard to keep up with big sister. She’s petite, strong and loves to pull up on things, clap, play peek-a-boo, bounce and jabber. We’re blessed with two exuberant, affectionate, and very funny little girls.

Nathan completed four more graduate classes this year and has just the MBA capstone class remaining for the spring semester. We’ll be celebrating his achievements, God’s grace, and more time together come May 2010!

Many of our activities and responsibilities have continued: Nathan’s begun his eighth year working at the airport. Julia keeps friends’ children part-time at home. We still teach the second grade Sunday school class and are involved in a Shepherding Group at Heritage Bible Church. And we travel—mostly to visit our families who live in four other states. Happily, Tom and Lydia and their eighteen-month-old daughters are back in the state after a job-related move to California.

Early fall we listed our townhouse for sale, hoping to buy a “real house” while interest rates were low. Two months later, we received a contract for the condo and scrambled to find our next home. After some disappointing searching, the Lord led to us the house we were hoping for—a roomy brick ranch in a quiet neighborhood. Of course, the repairs and updates it needs were what put it in our price range—and will keep us busy for several years if the Lord keeps us in town (Did Julia say she never wanted to buy a fixer upper?). We moved in three weeks ago and are excited to have another bedroom (for guests and future children), more living/entertaining space, and a back yard! Please e-mail if you want our new address (

We hope to update the blog again soon. . .

May your celebration of Christmas be filled with the joy of redemption in Christ!

With love,

Nathan, Julia, Abigail & Hannah Garner