Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Family Christmas Letter

The air is crisp and cold; there's a mix of anticipation, mischievous energy, and edginess from the kids;  and the scents of cinnamon and clementine waft through the house.  Christmas is soon!

Here, in the Dixon house, things are in a state of "started but not completed," as per usual.  We are always "under construction" in all things.  We strive to remember True Christmas even in the chaos.

As we think about Christmas, we are reminded of how we stumbled in the darkness before Christmas came, but how "the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" in the coming of Immanuel: God with us.  We are filled with hope, even in dark days, as we think of the proclamation of the angel to the shepherds, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ The Lord." [Luke 2:10-11]

This year, as with every year, has had  both its challenges and blessings.  God is always good and it's the good memories that stand out above the bad...

Ok, but truthfully, we really struggle to recall much of anything.  With the arrival of our newest member in May, sleep deprivation has done a number on our memory.  However, we do remember the arrival of our bright little guy, Amos.  He was so alert after his birth and for such a long time, just taking in this new world.  At six months, he is still just as interested in what's going on around him. And, while very much a Mama's boy, he enjoys his Daddy and his siblings (though he's learned which ones not to trust with his safety).  He is a chubby, happy little guy with an irresistible smile and irrepressible laugh.

Zeke has developed some independence.  He is now two and, while we thought he would never motor on his own, he walks and runs everywhere now; a year can do a lot. He talks with language mostly understood by his family, if no one else.  He likes cars and people, especially Lego people (which are banned to him by his brother), all of whom are named "Emmett."  He is super loving and cuddly, quick to swat but just as quick to hug.

Emily is four and very opinionated.  She thanks God every day, as the school kids leave, that she is the oldest one home.  She lives a rich fantasy life where she is the queen or Elsa or Anna depending on the moment.  She keeps us laughing, that's for sure.

Molly is five and has started primary this year.  From both hers and her teacher's reports, it is going well.  While she doesn't like boys (she says), she is, apparently, the recipient of attention from three older boys (grade 1), all beginning with J.  She is keen to learn and keeps a pen and paper close by, copying words she sees or thinks of.

Jordan, age 7, is absent minded and leaves a mess in his wake.  You can observe him getting off the bus, book bag opened, lunch box in hand, homework pouch in other hand, jacket or other clothing item being dragged... my mother says he's just like I was! Heaven help us! It does not appear to be effecting his academics, however, as he is doing well in all areas (except organization).  He loves Lego, Minecraft, Pokemon, minions, etc.  as per most boys his age... and, of course, Calvin and Hobbes, which he quotes in any appropriate (or inappropriate) context.

Reuben is nine, now.  He is incredibly creative and says he wants to be an engineer.  It is a challenge to help him come up with new projects to do; his greatest complaint is boredom... but we've learned that boredom can lead to great invention and discovery for him  (or conspiracy and mischief, when focused in the wrong direction).  He has a sharp, quick mind.  He is at his best when kept active in playing sports in the yard or working with his hands.

Kathryn is eleven and getting tall.  She is a dedicated and hard working student.  She has been chosen as a student leader this year and has gotten the opportunity to learn more leadership skills.  She loves her once a week barn visits to see the horses. She is also learning trumpet this year, but plans on switching to French horn next year.

Caleb has finally turned thirteen - a teenager; it seems like he's been waiting for this for years.  Let's hope that the teen years will not disappoint.  He is doing well in school, enjoys band (playing both trumpet and baritone), and plans on continuing on with robotics.  He is into fantasy novels, as spurs his imagination to heights of glory and honour.  He is a great big brother especially to the two little boys, Zeke and Amos... and is never too busy for a pick up game of hockey or basketball with Reuben or Jordan.

A hard time this year was losing our faithful sidekick, Kolbi.  Our golden girl died in the spring.  We miss her.  We tried out another dog, Oliver, but he couldn't adapt to our chaos, so is now living with another family better able to help him get more structure and training.  We miss his companionship but know that he is doing well at his new home.

We are proud of our team.  They are growing in knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom (though that is dependent on the moment).  They are learning to live out their faith in the school and community. We are grateful for the freedom they have to do it.

We look forward to another year, here in the Valley.  It's hard to believe, but Jon began as a pastor at New Minas Baptist Church on January 1, 2005. We've now lived here for 10 years. We look forward to many more! We love our church and look forward to new beginnings with a new lead pastor.

To all of you and all of yours, we wish a very Merry Christmas and that you would enter the new year secure in the love of Jesus, confident in His goodness and guidance through all times.