Photo Friday features favorites from food to festivities to falcons

– Max, keeping an eye on things from the top of the stairs

“Jesus says: ‘Comfort yourself, you would not seek me if you had not found me’.”

Blaise Pascal, 1670
– Andrew in Bahrain

First, if you missed the “Derek & Rebekah Christmas Newsletter” then I hope you will take a moment to check it out. 2022 has been memorable in many ways.

As for today, I have a unique collection of Photo Friday images to share.

I have to start with this photo of Andrew in the Middle East. He is celebrating Bahrain’s National Day, wearing traditional dress and, yes, that is a real falcon he is holding – as one does.

Rebekah and I are both so proud of Andrew, and the important work he is doing as an international educator – and Alicia too. It’s a deeply grateful kind of being proud; it’s the kind of pride that says, “Thank you God, for allowing us to raise an exceptional child and to watch him become – with your strength and guidance – someone who uses his gifts in such a beautiful way.”

We feel the same way about Naomi and Craig too. We are all works in progress, to be sure; but to see this vibrant, happy, loving, life-filled family thrive in Orlando makes our hearts happy.

Date Night with Rebekah:

Wednesday evening, Rebekah and I went out to “Farm Table”, one of our favorite local restaurants. The food was delicious, as was spending a quiet evening alone with Rebekah.

– Fisherman’s Stew

My “Fisherman’s Stew” made me think of the way we celebrate Christmas at Maul-Hall. Essentially, it’s a big steaming pot and then a little of everything gets thrown in. Muscles, Shrimp, crabmeat, whitefish, potatoes, tomatoes, stock, onions, garlic, a variety of herbs and spices. Then it just simmers.

And that’s Christmas right there. All the characters, the settings, the celebrations, the stories, the gifts, the lights, the songs, the shepherds, the magi, the holy family, the animals, the angels, the star, the journey, the beauty, the mucky manger, the eons of waiting, the search for a Savior, the politics, the frightened king, the might of Rome, the refugees, the birth, the gold, the frankincense, the myrrh. The cross, the promise, the hope, the love, the peace, the joy. All the light. All the miracles. All the people.

Sharing a little light:

Rebekah and I ended up with a few extra lights at Maul Hall this year. We didn’t go crazy, but – and maybe in response to the passing of my father – we have felt a strong imperative to be in the business of sharing the light.

Light is generosity; light is joy; light is telling the authentic story – the truth – that is God’s wide-open invitation; light is responding to doubt and cynicism and bitterness with peace and with love; light is a marker to help show the way.

Light is the Christmas Story.

We put up a second, smaller, tree this year. Two reasons:

First, because some of the ornaments were not excited about the prospect of missing Christmas this year. There wasn’t room on the big tree and it was either get them another tree or send them back to the attic!

Then, I like the idea that the magi were not just following the star but were also coming from a place of light. In other words, the wise men were looking because in a sense they already knew God.

Or, as Pascal wrote, “Jesus says: Console yourself, you would not seek me, if you had not (already) found me.– DEREK

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