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DECEMBER BLESSINGS

I LOVE sitting in front of the fireplace at my daughter Brittany’s house… just steps away from our sending church –
Trinity Baptist Church in Williston, Vermont… only steps away from where she and our terrific son-in-law Michael are
now serving the Lord in the ministries they were called to and for which they were trained. And yesterday afternoon I
loved sitting in front of my own fake fireplace just up the stairs from the ministry the Lord called Kim and I to so many
years ago… where we have just recently seen unusual spiritual blessing… and talking to our son Nathan as he serves the
Lord this week in the country of Haiti, where so many of our own church people were born and raised. It was a thrill to
hear him tell of preaching in French and singing in Creole, and praising the Lord for the joy and privilege of being called
into and used in Christ’s service.
In the spring of 2008 we discovered that I had cancer. It was confirmed only days before Brittany’s high-school
graduation, on the day that she performed the closing night in their school play. We waited until after the performance
to break the news to her and Nate… after the cast party… in a hotel room midway between Burlington and Montreal.
We knew we needed some real “alone time” to talk with the kids about something like this. Since graduation was only a
few days away we didn’t really worry about making it to that event… and with the positive outlook the doctors gave us
we truly did expect to be able to spend the next Christmas together… (although that was a pretty difficult one – 65
pounds lighter, and having just concluded 33 radiation treatments, chemotherapy and an operation on my neck)… but
we certainly didn’t know what to expect concerning “future” Christmas’s and graduations.
Would we all be together to celebrate Nathan’s high-school graduation? … or Brittany’s college graduation (and maybe
even marriage?)… or Nathan’s college graduation to follow? … Would I be around to see my children go on to serve the
Lord as adults in whatever ministries that He might call them to? … And could I possibly even consider the possibility of
one day seeing grandchildren?
While none of these things really worried me, because I honestly believe that God’s way is always best… and that the
joys of Heaven will never leave the believer “wanting”… still… it made me wonder… and these thoughts came to mind on
more than one occasion. To be honest, the few times that tears did fill my eyes and that almost exclusively private sobs
filled my throat, it was while pondering these things… and the temporary sadness that might accompany those whom I
would have to leave behind… for a little while.
All that is to say this. Here I sit, on the brink of my 7th Christmas season following that life-changing diagnosis. By some
rather official estimations and statistics I really shouldn’t be here. But God in His grace has chosen differently. I did see
Brittany graduate from high-school in 2008, and Nathan in 2010, and Brittany’s college graduation and marriage in 2012,
and Nathan’s college graduation in 2014, as he testified of God’s goodness and faithfulness to a crowd of thousands. I
baptized my daughter and her fiancé, have heard my son preach God’s Word both in French and in English, helped in the
send-off of our first grandchildren (twins) as they entered into Heaven ahead of us (before we ever met), and now have
every reason to believe I’ll see a healthy grand-daughter, Clara, when she comes into the world, probably in early May.
Has God been good to me? … Excuse the vernacular… but “YOU BET HE HAS!”
And that isn’t even to mention all the blessings of ministry we’ve seen in the last years… and having my brother (Dan)
and Kim’s sister (Chris – Dan’s wife) move into our “neighborhood” (within a reasonable 5 hour drive)… to make new
friends in their new church… to have our daughter and son-in-law move to begin their marriage and ministry at our
sending church (an even shorter – 2 ½ hour drive)… and so many other blessings that I could never count them all here.
I guess a good, short Bible passage to sum this all up would be one that we memorized as a church last month. It’s
found in Psalm 30, verses 4 and 5. - “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his
holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in
the morning.“
I actually like it a bit better as it is written in French. Here is the loose translation of what we memorized at church:
“Sing unto the Lord, ye who love Him. Celebrate His holiness in worship. For His anger endures but a moment, but His
grace all the life-long. There may be weeping in the evening, but joy cometh in the morning.”
My joy has already arrived. I can’t even imagine what THAT morning will be like.
Shalom.

(from the desk – or couch really – of Paul Pelletier)