Christmas greetings…

Nativity scene01At this time of the year I’d like to assure you, one of my regular or casual blog-readers, a sign of my being well and thankful, along with my greetings and best wishes for the next year.

2012 has certainly been another year of God’s goodness to me and my dear wife and best friend Helen, as well as our children and their families.  Helen and I continue to be healthy and free to do productive things.  During a lifetime of Christian, school and social service, our income was modest but more than adequate, enabling us to build a respectable superannuation fund for our retirement years.  This is generously supplemented by the Australian pension system – and (unlike some countries) Australia remains financially robust despite its excellent social services.  No doubt we are also benefiting from our country’s Christian heritage and natural resources, both (as I see them) also gifts of God.

However, we are increasingly reminded that our age group is moving towards what God has promised is much better than our present life, affected as it is so often by any of the many signs of human depravity.  Thus far we are free of chronic maladies and a medication regime.

Our family is one of our great joys: four lovely families, with our 10th grandchild born last October.  We were able to help our son and DiL in Melbourne to celebrate and manage their newcomer, just as we did our oldest daughter and her hubby and kids in Sydney when their #4 arrived a year ago.

Our local areas of service and involvement have also continued to give us great enjoyment and satisfaction.  Helen has continued to give her practical and other support to our local daughter (who has had a challenging class this year) and also more generally to the Christian school our oldest grandchildren attend.  Helen is also on the roster to provide weekly worship services for senior folk living at Warrina Homes, where I have continued as the 8-hours-per-week chaplain.  I also help out quite often on Sundays at any of the three Christian Reformed congregations in Adelaide.

My two weekly blogs also keep me thinking, researching, and writing.  This blogsite is an archive of my thoughts and interests as well as our doings, and it’s fun to put something together (almost) every week, although the readership is understandably modest.  My other blog on issues around infant surgery (see link on the side-bar to the right) reflects something I have been interested in all my life, and this blogsite’s readership and the response to it have risen steadily since I started after retiring from full-time church work just over two years ago.

Apart from all this, we thoroughly enjoy our freedom and fitness to visit, give hospitality, follow our many interests, exercise (walk, swim and Pilates) – and our garden looks a treat.

Being invited to help out by colleagues in Christian work has taken us to country WA and Sydney’s Northern Beaches this past year – for a total of almost 3 months.  I have posted blogs about each of these times away.  Any worries that these stints might become a chore were quickly dispelled and we loved being involved in two very different communities and parts of God-at-work – all without the pressures of long-term responsibilities.

Plans for next year?  We don’t plan anything very different, although if the Lord God enables us, in 2014 we’d like to tick off some more of our outside-Australia bucket-list.  We expect to spend some time again with our children and their families in Sydney and Melbourne.  I am talking to two colleagues about more “helping out”, and am planning to retire from paid chaplaincy at Warrina Homes to free up my time and commitments and to see somebody different (and I hope younger) take on this beautiful work after my 15 years.  After 2+ years of retirement we plan to increase the voluntary pastoral work we do in our church as well as among the seniors at Warrina Homes’five locations.

I thank my readers here for their interest, feedback, and encouragement.

Let’s have a joyful, safe, meaningful and refreshing Christmas – New Year season.  And I believe we can look forward to another year of God’s good things in 2013.  God is like that.

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