Thursday, December 23, 2010

T’was a Night or Two Before Christmas

I am about to breach protocol…I know, it’s brave to risk a lump of coal in my stocking but here I am pressing ahead!  Normally I’d finish with my pictures of Ghana before putting up anything else but what better reason to do something special is there than Christmas itself?  I feel that a new day has dawned and the sun has set on the past more than ever before.  Those of you that know me realize I don’t dwell on the past but am all about the future.  It’s not that things in the past haven’t been good but they are just steps to the good things God has in the future…thus the past is beautifulbut the future is more so.  Some say clouds have a sliver lining but often I see clouds and difficulties for that matter as something that will always give way to a brilliant blue dawn!  Hope and God’s promise reside in every season…even when it’s the last leaf hanging on for dear life in the fallor the dead of winter…there’s promise in the future!  Hope gives way to faith that burns like a bright flame even in our seasons of grey and white.  Looking in our backyard it’s very dreary at times with the brown and dead prairie stretching endlessly as far as the eye can seebut I know that I know it’s only a matter of time before that deadness gives way to life again.  Our bold Pansies that braved massive hail and a tornado this year finally bowed to the weight of season’s changebut though they seem to weep I know our garden will rise again even better than before!  The snow came this year with a surprising furryand our coffee table outside went from looking like a single Oreo cookie with the top off to a double stuff in a hurrybut the promise there is in Christmas shines brightly.  Even our ornaments have a missionary flare!  Our tree has been a beacon of hope every year because no matter how tired we are from the gigs our choir performs before Christmas we do this and it brings us hope as we look at it.  Some see it as a pagan reference but for me it’s a symbol of our togetherness and that could never be complete without Jesus Christ.  Each ornament has a meaning to me…even this for my daughter DanielleLOL!  Even this one reminds me of the things God has blessed us with that transcends material things.  This one is more than a patriotic bell…it’s a more modern version of the bell my grandfather always had on his tree before he passed away.  This one we brought back from Africa so it’s very special to us all!  Now the coffee table has become a quadruple stuff Oreo or morebut the promise of a new season shines bright like a Christmas star that lead the wise men to Christ!  Merry Christmas everyone!  God bless you!


  1. Hi Joe,

    Lovely encouraging blog, great pictures. Thank-you

    I wish for you and your family a Very Happy Christmas and blessed 2011 - Nita

  2. I LOVED this post, Joe! How on earth do you keeping topping yourself?! Incredible. And the way it was all put together with the Oreo table in it's stages at just the precise right moment, oh myyyyy. Then, look at your fabulous tree of not only Christmas memories but life memories. Nothing more beautiful than that. I just adored this entire thing and with every scroll down, I was grinning ever broader. (I swear, Joe, you could bring happiness to a slug). I am sitting here today sick as a dog. What timing, lol, but it's ok. I finished everything I needed to finish, and now I'll just sit back (or sleep) and get well. Happy? You bet. And you were a big part of that :D Thanks, Joe, and Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family. XOXOXO

  3. Hi Joe,
    The photos and a beautiful I'll remember the magic word that is so true.
    I wish for you and your family Happy Christmas and a good health and happiness in 2011.

  4. Wonderful post Joe. Thank you for the lovely photos and sharing the hope that is there for a brighter tomorrow.
    God Bless you and your family! May your Christmas be merry and your New Year filled with love and happiness.

  5. Great Words

    The Christian has hope through Jesus Christ.
    It is the future where the hope is.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. I know you have been on the go gog go since before you and family left for Africa. Then you return to do concerts and homeschool and and...
    I see you are exhaling now some and needed unwinding.
    Your tree is beautiful I hope to put ours up tonight. Cindy in Madison is dreaming of a brown Christmas, so hey you are so lucky with your brown prairie. I wish you and your whole family a blessed Christmas and an abundant new year!

  7. (just tip-toeing in for a 2nd read. see? told you I loved it) (and tombs by diablo2 is really good)

  8. Wow! Would you look at that sky. What an incredible sunset, and your tree is fabulous with all those really neat ornaments, that have special meaning and bring back good memories.
    Loved reading your blog Joe.
    I just finished wrapping all our presents, and now I need to get some shuteye as I have to get up at 6 for work. I work from 8-1pm and then I am done until next Tues. All our kids will be home over the holidays and we are so looking forward to being together as a family again.
    Well Joe I just wanted to stop by and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    See you next year! Dianne :)

  9. What a tree Joe
    besutiful and with so much msg in it.
    The outside looks like here.
    we have mountains of snow at the moment and the wind makes is teel like we are in Artic.
    I wish u and ur loved ones wonderful X mas days and lets not forget the real meaning of X mas
    God bless u all

  10. Your tree and the ornaments are beautiful and best of all..meaningful to you and the family. May all of your lives continue to be blessed as deeply as they are and may you always be about feeding His sheep.

    Merry Christmas.

  11. I think your tree is just beautiful Joe, it most certainly puts my little tree to shame. I like the way in which you do your tree with ornaments that have a meaning to you or a family member. Hope Santa brings you something nice this year

    Merry Christmas to your household
    From all at mine.

  12. stopping by to say hello and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.. I still think that is one gorgeous tree!! It just sparkles!

  13. I love your thoughts Joe.. and the way you decorate your tree which by the way is very beautiful.. as it holds many memories and wonderful feelings as you all put decorations that hold those special feelings of hope, and love..
    some the day after Christmas no longer celebrate..and start to take down ones tree.. we leave ours up.. and continue to celebrate up to the new year.. that is when we give out our presents.. when the kids were small santa would still come on Christmas eve.. but only one present.. we would make a cake and celebrate Jesus's birthday.. The wise men gave their gifts to the Christ child long after he was born.. think they were wise indeed.. and if they were to do it now in this time and age.. they would wait until all the stores drop their prices..and bring in the new year with presents rather than going out and parting.. "smile".. that is what we do anyway..
    so I guess we celebrate Jesus's birthday all week rather than just one day..
    Blessings to you dear friend..
    soft hugs.

  14. Hi Joe
    when i see and hear sad things my emotions work like turbo
    I worry abt the fact that ppl dont get help although there is.
    i know i cant change the world and next year will bring hopefully better..
    the snow is slowly going Nights are still freezing cold
    how was ur X mas?
    Tc and wish everyone Happy new year
    the Joe and Company bunch hihi

  15. The sky is stunning Joe. Gods art work and you captured it to perfection.
    Love your tree as you . I did see it on facebook.
    Many Blessings in the coming year. I will be grateful this year is coming to a close.
    By thie looks of your home you had a wonderful Christmas.
    Blessing to you my Friend.

  16. Happy New Year to you Joe and your family..
    How is your Mum these day? hope back to normally she can walk now.....
    Have a wonderful day.