Today was a milestone in our house – we hosted our 15th annual New Year’s Open House. Yep, our New Year’s tradition came a week late in our house, due to sickness. But as I sat at the end of the day, what a glorious delay it was.
Because of the change of dates, we had some folks who were not able to join us that could have been here on the 1st, and some folks were able to be here, who had other commitments on the 1st. But God knew who and when each one was going to be here and as I took a brief break from keeping the table fully laden with goodies – I was able to ponder the goodness of God in our lives.
I think our Open House is my favourite day of the year. I have been baking for weeks, and all the planning has finally come together. Jeff has been working diligently in the trains, and all the new elements are ready for viewing pleasure. And it’s on this day that we watch as our church family, friends and colleagues join us for fellowship and food. It makes warms this girl’s heart to have our home filled with conversation and laughter.
At one point this afternoon though, I realized that in our living room at least 6 facets of our life had come together, and in some way had multiple connections. Some of these relationships go back more than 20 years – to even before we were married, and some are very new friendships, but the connection was there none the less. One of the professors who was most influential in Jeff’s life from Seminary was here. He has now become a treasured friend and colleague. Also in the room were members of his congregation, one of whom came to faith in the church we served in Toronto – she and her husband are also dear friends. Then we had a couple of Presbytery members here.
One goes to the church of the other. The elder was a student of Jeff’s last year, and he is good friends with my former Sr Pastor (who also played hockey with the professor). My former pastor and family now live out of the country, and I miss them dearly – yet here they were being mentioned fondly in multiple conversations. The final folks in the room were friends from the church I serve. She is the admin assistant there and she and her husband went to Nassau with us to visit friends last year, and the friendship bond has just deepened since then.
I sat – and as I reflect – realize just how overwhelmed I was. The day ended with 2 couples who we hold very dear. The wife of one, and the husband of the other grew up at the church I serve together. A fitting end to an awesome day!
I think what strikes me the most is the promise that God will place us into families found in Psalm 68. Jeff and I have come from very different background and made a home. During our almost 2 decades, we have found family everywhere we have lived, and today – significant parts of that accumulated family were together in our home.
I love how God shows up in unexpected places, and sometimes – if we are just quiet enough to listen and still enough to see – He says “see, I have been faithful”. Jeff and I have always felt that we celebrate Christmas with our families and New Year’s with our Church family. Today, the circle was bigger, but just that much more sweet.