And I tell you, you are Peter (Derek, Rebekah, Naomi, Andrew, Craig, Alicia, David, Beks…), and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:17-19
Friday, the Maul family celebrated “Boxing Day” (the British term for the day after Christmas, derived from the practice of “boxing up” Christmas gifts, food, and treats to share with the less fortunate) by re-convening at Naomi and Craig’s brand spanking new home in Richmond.
We played; we did a fun gift-exchange game; we played some more; we feasted on cold meats, salad, dressing, pickled everything, good wine, crescent rolls, and baked potatoes; we talked endlessly; and we posed for semi-formal portraits courtesy of Naomi’s camera and tripod (sorry, but we all have to wait for those!).
But I did manage to capture a few key action-shots via my iPhone, and I’ll share those below.
LOVE & LIGHT: Huge – HUGE – for me, was the wonderful and redemptive spirit of love and camaraderie that has developed between our children – Andrew and Naomi – over the past few years.
Andrew, bless his heart, has been very sick this week. He essentially missed most of Christmas day, and had to begin Boxing Day at the walk-in clinic. But he still dragged himself into the back seat of the car and gamely made his way to his sister’s house. Why? Because he knew how much it would mean to her to have him there. How cool is that!
So Andrew propped himself up for the gift exchange, managed to insert himself into the family pictures, and even plopped to the floor to play trains with David. Good stuff!
It’s funny how – having raised them, and given them the tools they need for a successful life, and sent them on their way – even adult/responsible/independent/grown-up children remain so deeply imbedded in our emotional foundations. Rebekah and I couldn’t be more proud, and feel more positive, about our offspring.
HOPE! In fact, it’s our very own children, and then our grandchildren, who affirm so strongly the deep and aiding hope we hold for the future. Sure, this world is a crazy, broken, mixed-up, hateful place where evil is not only exhibited every day, but focused on, and hyped up by everyone from newscasters to bloggers to people who evidently revel in the misery of others…
BUT – and this is so very important to hear and to understand – I am thankful that my children are living in this world, and I am thankful that my grandchildren have been (and are being) born into this world. Why? Because even small flickers of light completely defeat darkness! When Jesus said, “The powers of hell shall not prevail against my church,” (Matthew 16) he didn’t say “maybe,” or “I’d like to think so,” or “I wish,” or “there’s a good chance…” No, Jesus said “SHALL NOT!”
Even small flickers of light completely defeat darkness!
We, and by “we” I mean me, Rebekah, our children, and our grandchildren, are not naive, and we don’t look through rose-colored glasses – we just believe. And we believe because we are completely confident that the message of love, and peace, and light, and life will always, 100%, always defeat the darkness.
And that, my friends, is why we are enjoying such a great Christmas. Christmas is the Good News personified. Jesus was born into such a world; he is light, and he is life.
Peace – and I mean that in every way – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.