Dear Family and Friends,
What a blessing to write to all of you, and to catch up with you (Please let us know how you’re doing!) at this special time of year. After the challenges of 2021, it is an especially good time to take stock of our lives and pray for guidance for the year to come.
I think that if the past two years have taught us anything, it is that no matter how hard we try or psych ourselves up, we must admit that the challenges of life require help from outside ourselves. . . friends, family, community. But even these resources are limited. Now more than ever, there are many things that no one can fix. No amount of money, power, or fame can bring about a just and peaceful world, because even the best of us is flawed. A famous story says that The Times of London once sent out an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” and G.K. Chesterton responded simply, “Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
Well, that’s a discouraging way to start a letter! But all is not lost! We are reminded of the answer to this dilemma every Christmas! The perfect answer to our perplexity and frustration would be for the Creator, who knows us much better than we know ourselves, to come to us in a form we could understand, live with us, and give our lives meaning and purpose. And that is exactly what happened! Emmanuel, God with us! It is an awesome mystery, and yet it happened. And then God Himself offered His own life to redeem our wayward hearts and offer us the opportunity to become children of God ourselves! To give us a purpose, a future and a hope that no amount of bad news on earth can take away!
So today, in the midst of uncertainty, we are thankful, hopeful, and encouraged. We are looking forward to Christ’s second coming to Earth to set things right and establish His eternal kingdom, which will be truly just and peaceful. And from the way things are going, His coming could be very soon! It is a time for “. . . encouraging one another—and all the more as (we) see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25b).
We have been greatly encouraged this year as we again traveled around the country, meeting many lovely people and worshipping in many different churches along the way. Once again this year, we loaned out our house, this time to very good friends Rick and Debi Hall, while we were traveling, as they were looking to buy a retirement home here in Tennessee. And we actually got to live together for a month or so at the end. It was great fun, a very special time. While they took care of the house for us, we visited family in Michigan, then went across US-2 to the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota, and followed the Great River Road all the way down to Baton Rouge. Then after driving back to Tennessee for a few days at home, we headed up the east coast, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, up into New Jersey on the Cape May Ferry, then followed the coast (giving NYC wide berth!) up into New England for the fall color and a visit to sister Dot and her family before coming back home via the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. Our trusty Chevy cargo van (affectionately named VanGo) handled it all very well. And thanks to our new membership with the website Boondockers Welcome, we were able to stay overnight with four different hosts along the way. Always, the people we meet are a wonderful part of the trip. We hope to post videos of our travels on our website next month (abjoyce.us).
God is faithful and we are blessed. At one time or another this year, we got to visit with all of our five children and thirteen grandchildren except for son Daniel and his wife Dia in California. Perhaps that will happen in 2022. Only God knows what the new year will look like, but we can trust Him and His plan for the ages, as HisStory continues to unfold. And as this letter goes out, we pray that each one of you will look to Him for your own purpose, hope, and future both in the holiday season and in the year to come. We thank God for each of you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Art and Bonnie