At Christmas – and all the time -- it is good to remember that, even though things might sometimes seem hopeless, there are reasons for hope. My greatest reason is what we are celebrating right now -- Jesus becoming a human, showing us the greatest love in the world. As Eugene Peterson put it in The Message, Jesus moved into the neighborhood. Hooray!
Jane Goodall wrote a book titled Reason for Hope, listing as her reasons: “(1) the human brain, (2) the resilience of nature; (3) the energy and enthusiasm [of] young people worldwide; and (4) the indomitable human spirit.” I think her reasons can give us all hope.
This is where you come in. You are examples of that indomitable human spirit, and you are among my reasons for hope. Even though I may not have seen some of you in a long time, when I think of each of you and our times together, I am grateful and my heart fills with hope. Bad things happen. Bad things happen to good people. My hope is in the Lord. He gives me people like you in my life. I feel his presence through your presence, whether it’s acts of kindness, words of encouragement, listening ears, or sympathetic tears, I thank God for you.
A little news about our family -- also great reasons for hope. I feel like the luckiest mom and grandma in the world -- all my “kids” and grandkids are in the Bay Area. As they were growing up, I often thought how great it would be if they all settled in my time zone. And here they all are within a few miles!
Cori is an ER nurse at Stanford Hospital. She loves her job. She also travels quite a bit -- two trips to Italy, a trip to New Zealand and Australia, and quite a few other travels. Luke, Des, Delaney (11) and Lydia (6) live in Pleasanton, just a ways down the highway from us. Luke manages a truck parts and repair shop. Des works for a furniture dealership. Zach, Ashlee, and Violet (3) live with us right now, and it’s such a joy to have them. Zach oversees a warehouse for an audio-visual equipment company, and Ashlee is an amazing at-home mother. The grandchildren are such a blessing, and having them so near is a bonus.
Randy and I are still working, too, but looking forward to retirement in a couple years. I am reducing my workdays to ease my way out. Randy is still full time and his company was just bought out, so right now he is extremely busy. We purchased a little trailer this year and it has been so fun to take trips with it. We’re practicing for retirement. This year we went to Michigan for a visit with the Moon family, then Glacier National Park. Incredible.
In Christmas letters (and social media, and in general), we tend to talk only about how wonderful our lives are, and our lives are wonderful, but they’re not perfect. We have sad times, difficult periods of struggle; we make mistakes and work through them. One of the greatest gifts for me has been my discovery of the Ignatian (or Jesuit) Spiritual Disciplines. It started with a book called The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin. I wondered if there was a Jesuit retreat center nearby and was thrilled when Google told me there was one just 20 minutes away! I went to several retreats, learned more and -- I know it sounds overly dramatic but it’s true -- it changed my life. Now I have started a 3-year course called Pierre Favre to deepen my knowledge and prepare me to be a Spiritual Director.
I continue to read quite a bit, one of the joys of my life, and I am trying to write more, too. I write an “email of God’s love” approximately once a week, and do some blogging. If you’re interested, check out www.mavismoon.com.
I would love to hear all about you and your lives. Have a merry Christmas and a joyful new year. I pray that your hearts are filled with hope.
love, Mavis & Randy