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!