Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the McCrories!

family2006.gifWow! Can it possibly be time for another holiday letter already? Well, the Lord has been so gracious to our family again this year. For the first time in three years, our son Jason has not had to be hospitalized for his breathing problems acquired as a premature baby. Praise God! Where Jacob had to work for 14 years to acquire the love of his life, I was able to celebrate 14 years with mine this summer! Praise God! A special blessing this year was being able to baptize my nine-year-old daughter, Ashley, and see her take that important step of expressing her faith in Christ publicly. Praise God! This year, the Lord allowed us to make a local move into a much more spacious home to accommodate our growing clan. Praise God!

Christina (12) is now in seventh grade. She is much like her daddy, both positively and negatively! She serves on the student council in her school and also on the leadership team in the church youth group. She is finally able to baby-sit! She is still playing the clarinet, piano, and violin; and has even started working on the penny whistle. She loves music and enjoys singing for hours with her daddy around the family piano. Nina, as we call her, also loves to play on her school’s sports teams and did well on volleyball and basketball teams this year, despite having to sit out for a couple weeks due to a tonsillectomy!

Jonathan (11) is in fifth grade and growing like a weed! He is really into sports now and enjoys football and basketball the most. He is playing the trombone and making great progress—even playing with our middle school band this year! Jonathan has a very sensitive and giving heart and is very loving. He enjoyed a birthday party recently at a roller-skating rink with a bunch of his closest friends. By the time you read this, he will have received a foil for Christmas (fencing sword). He has always loved sword-fighting and will start at Denver Fencing Academy in January to begin his training. It’s an unusual Christmas present, but I thought it would really give him a sense of history and discipline which can serve him well in the future.

Ashley (9) loves her fourth-grade teacher who is really teaching her to think critically. Besides the fact that she was baptized this year, the highlight of Ashley’s year was getting a flute for her birthday. Ashley has wanted a flute since she was very little and has made incredible strides already this year, playing in the elementary band at school. (No, it’s not just musical genes—the kids work really hard to do well in their instruments.) She enjoys serving in Junior Church by helping to lead the singing on Sunday nights. Ashley is still a little girl and enjoys Barbies and playing house, but she is growing so quickly. She is a beautiful girl and has many male admirers from her brother’s class, I’m told. No worries there—Ashley is not allowed to date until she is 35.
kaylablizzard.gifMy “sunshine” Kayla (5) is in Kindergarten this year. She is so bubbly and full of joy that it is hard to describe. I love her about as much as any father can love a daughter. She loves to color with crayons and even do her homework! She doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll also be receiving her first musical instrument for Christmas—a violin! She has talked non-stop about playing the violin for at least two years and even pretends to play one! She loves singing and dancing with her daddy around the living room over and over and over! This election season, she got to know one particular candidate pretty well: Lee Kunz, a former linebacker for the Chicago Bears. She just loved campaigning for “Kunz for Kids.” I don’t know how many votes the cute factor can bring in, but I’m sure she did her part!
jasonprez2.gifSpeaking of campaigning, our littlest one Jason (3) got initiated properly this November when he had the opportunity to meet President Bush! I don’t think he realizes the significance of meeting a President though. It’s all in a day’s work for this Lego-consumed little guy. He also introduced himself to gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez by planting one right on his lips. Let’s just say … Jason is a friendly boy! As I mentioned, Jason was strong enough this year for the first time to avoid an extended hospitalization. He has had bouts of sickness, some pretty bad, but has been able to overcome them all, thanks to the Lord. He is a gem of a kid and pretty tough too with all he’s been through. I can’t wait until the day he responds to the Lord in faith for his salvation. Then, our whole family will be united by blood and faith.

Deborah and I have stayed pretty busy this year. To alleviate some medical bills, we took on an extra job: a newspaper route. It’s pretty good money but terrible hours! Getting the right balance of sleep, family, and work has been difficult at times, but we’re still surviving! Deborah is teaching K-4 again this year at school and does a fantastic job. She has ALL the talent in the school-teaching area. I sure didn’t get any! Deborah also serves as the Preschool Director at our church and does a great job. I continue to learn and be challenged with the responsibilities of pastoring here in Denver. We’re really excited to watch the new church facility go up and are looking forward to moving into this divinely provided location in the near future! We serve with a wonderful leadership team at the church and work with some of the greatest laypeople any church could have.

With the major Christmas programs over now for the year, we finally put up our Christmas tree this past weekend. We got a great deal on an eight-foot Douglas fir—the tallest tree we’ve ever put up! The kids had a really fun time decorating, and we’re looking forward to a quiet, reflective Christmas as a family. I’m also hoping to get the rough draft of a book written somewhere in the days ahead …
I was reminded again of the wonder of the Incarnation in studying the familiar Gospel passages this year. The prophesies of old, the provision of the stable, the journey of the Kings, the spectacle of the angelic hosts, the simplicity of a star, the faith of a young lady and her husband-to-be, the excitement of the shepherds, the overwhelming emotion of Simeon holding the promised One … and … the shadow of a future cross—the story is amazing, full of love, full of hope, full of faith. It’s a tremendous celebration for a Christian. It’s also a story of example. Jesus of Nazareth did not have to come as a baby. He could have walked into Jerusalem as a full-grown man. Yet, he took 30 years to grow. Why? I think, to walk in our shoes. He wanted to prove that He could be all in all to us. He wanted to show the way of righteous living. He was an example for us, not just in His suffering, but also in His infancy, in His childhood, in His adolescence. What tremendous love! What a beautiful Savior!

The McCrorie family wishes every one of our SI friends a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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