Saturday, December 31, 2022

A December to Remember

And just like that, December has come to an end and we close the book on 2022.
Before we move on to the new year, let me just re-cap the happenings of December. 

We began the month with snow...
had three snow storms come and go...
and are ending 2022 with rain and balmy temperatures.

For the past many years we have had a MGCC Christmas party...
for those who live close enough to attend.
This year there were seven of us and our spouses.
It was so good to have Ellen join us again...
after a few years of 'pandemic separation'!
We missed Betty, Char and Kathy.

I hosted the first MGCC Christmas dinner ten years ago...
so it was fitting to have it at our home again.

I prepared the main course and the rest brought salad, appies and dessert.
I need not have cooked a main course at all.
We could have made a meal of the appetizers!

It has been a real joy to share this friendship through these many years.
Who knows what the next ten years will hold?

After dinner the guys went upstairs for a  crokinole tournament...
just like they did ten years ago.
We had a gift exchange and enjoyed each others company.
It is always so good way begin the Christmas season with these friends.

After a few years of gathering restrictions,
it was good to have all the Christmas concerts back this year.

At the beginning of December we took in the Christmas production of the Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir and Abbotsford Youth Orchestra.

It was a great from beginning to end...
but the finale was amazing, featuring Ranen on the fiddle and Irish dancing.

(click to watch)
We had good reason to be proud of her. 

The following weekend she played in the symphony orchestra at the performance of Handel's Messiah at Central Heights church in Abbotsford before a sold-out crowd. It was a fantastic performance...all three hours of it!

We so enjoyed all the in-person Christmas events this year, including Brian Doerksen's 'Heart of Christmas' concert!

Our church sponsored a Christmas event for women...
and I was asked to prepare a Christmas grazing table.
My first impulse was to decline...
since it was not something I had ever done.
But with the help of my good friend Marg...
we made it happen. 
It was quite fun to put together!

We ignored the front sidewalk for several days while the snow was still blowing...
but dug out a path for Christmas.

It is rare for snow to blanket the ground evenly over here.
As it falls the wind whips it up into drifts.

While our temperature was still at -9C (15F)...
the rains began and covered everything with a sheet of ice.
As December comes to an end, most of our snow has washed away.

Christmas Eve, 2022.
Family gathered.

They all went home for a few hours and came back for brunch on Christmas Day.
Brunch is the same every single year...
and even those who don't care for 'Christmas Morning Lifesaver' don't want to change the menu.
Breakfast casserole, fruit salad, fresh rolls and cinnamon buns.

And then...
gift opening.

It seemed so much more peaceful this year...
with no one in a hurry to leave.

What happened to all the impatient grands and the chaos of yesteryear?

Maggie adores cousin Ryder...
and gifted him a box of cookies she had painstakingly decorated.

And after the gifts... and games.

We played 'Codenames'...
a fun game for teams.

Christmas Day was not all 'comfort and joy'.
We received sad news that morning that our longtime friend Mel had just passed away.
For him it was joy...
he spent his first Christmas in heaven.
For those left behind...
there was sadness that day.

We have both known Mel since our youth and shared many experiences over the years... 
more recently were in a small group together.
He will be missed! 

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year.

I don't know what lies ahead...
but I do know that I can count on God's faithfulness!

Happy New Year!