Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Norris Family Christmas Greeting

Merry Christmas 2008 to all from the Norris Clan!

With two teenage girls, this has been a year full of life in our home, and as is our custom, we wanted to take this a few moments to keep you up to date on our lives this past year. Also, in keeping with the gift of the Christ child, we would like to offer, in your honor, a blessing for others less fortunate, in the form of a gift.

Kelly is now pushing hard on 18 years old, and is in the midst of college applications. The last year has been amazing. It’s exhausting just replaying it in our minds. Try this out for size: JV water polo, SAT preparation, “hanging with friends”, finishing a great junior year at South Pasadena high, work at the Rose Bowl Aquatic center teaching swimming to pre-schoolers, a trip to London and Paris with the family, then a week later, BACK through London on the way to (yes, it’s true) Albania for a two week summer mission trip. Kelly’s college preferences are mostly east of the Mississippi River, and we look forward to seeing how it all works out!

Heather is now almost 15, and is in her first year at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. She is loving her new school setting, and as is typical with Heather, jumping into her new surroundings with both feet. Thus far, she is on the JV soccer team, and busy nearly all her free time with the homework of a rigorous academy schedule. She did take time out in October for the Father Daughter Dinner Dance, a tradition each year at her school. For most high school girls, this event might have the potential to be massively embarrassing; something on the scale of Cinderella goes to the Ball with Quasimodo. But not at this school, and not these girls. This was an evening of unbridled fun; dinner, conversation, and of course, dancing; a study in unbridled joy. However, we can still report that Dad is a pathetic dancer. Some things never change.

Nancy continues a life that is a study in care for others. Besides being a great Mom and wife, she will be spending a significant portion of 2009 involved in a committee that will search for a new senior pastor for our church. We are hopeful and expectant to see what God will do. Pray for Nancy and her seven friends on this committee, will you? We thankfully celebrated 20 years of marriage in October of this year by hiking the Mist Trail in Yosemite Valley, and look forward to another 20 years on our journey together.

August found the four of us on a long dreamed-of vacation to both London and Paris. We can report that there is nothing like visiting these two historic and romantic cities in the company of teenage girls. In London it was the Tower of London, Churchill’s underground War Rooms, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle (our favorite!), and even a visit to the British War Museum for Dad (by himself, for some “guy time”!). We even caught an evening play of “The Sound of Music”. Then on to Paris where we picnicked on the Champs De Mars at dusk “Twinkle Time” for the Eiffel Tower, visited Versailles (and the massive crowds therein), the Latin Quarter and Notre Dame (ask us how to get in without waiting in line!). A once in a lifetime journey for us all. We came home thankful, and hopefully a bit more cultured.

In the midst of our busy and happy year, we remain mindful that this has not necessarily a year of pure happiness for many. Many of you who are dear to us have faced illness, sadness, loss of jobs, and maybe even fear of the future. Life is like that, just plain scary sometimes. Maybe it feels like your Christmas stocking is empty. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, lights, TV Specials, and with gifts.

All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for that amazing, mysterious child born in a manger. It’s His birthday we're celebrating. But we tend to forget that.

And so, in this year of recession, our family is giving a gift in your names; the names of all those our family loves. This year, Samaritan’s Purse will be building a water well, in a place somewhere in need, to provide clean water, in honor and thanksgiving for your love and friendship. We are so richly blessed to call you friends and family! And so, for years to come, living water will pour forth in a place far from our homes, for those less fortunate than us all. A Christmas Gift that will last. May your hearts be warmed by the great love of Christ this Christmas!

The darling of the world is come
and fit it is we find a room to
welcome Him. To welcome Him.

The noble part of all the house
here is the heart. Which we receive him and bequeath this holly and this ivy wreath. To do Him honor who's our King and Lord
of all this reveling.

John Rutter – “What Sweeter Music”

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