This year’s Heidel Holiday card is placidly inattentive to 2020’s global virulence and U.S. political throes, themes of which we were daily and painfully aware. If you squint and count carefully, you will see a new grandbaby and a new in-law. Daughter One added a son, and so we welcomed grandbabyboy #5. Daughter Four was out the door, taking a fine husband and adding sonnyboyinlaw #4 to the extended family roster.
The compulsory family mob shot is set at a lovely nearby herb garden in the Upper Chesapeake region — wedding venue and site of the husband-taking. The knot was tied as our fair state’s “Guvnah” made ever stricter proclamations almost daily, reducing the number of people who could legally assemble indoors. Even though he was not invited, his honor did not shut down our celebration — there’s a good chap — so from rehearsal dinner through wedding day, we planned activities with PPE, social-distancing, and elbow bumping de rigueur. And in his honor, I bought local, sporting Route 1 Apparel’s snazzy sublimated Maryland state flag patterned facemasks, with complimenting socks and ties. My Rehearsal Dinner outfit accessories featured a dizzying yet tasteful blend of Orioles, Ravens and Terrapins colors, while my Wedding Day accents were a more serious but whimsical charcoal grey and black theme. A good time was had by all. Understandably, some friends and family did not travel as COVID-19 positivity rates climbed, including Number One Son and and Number One Daughter, and their families. Through the marvels of technology, they and quite a few others were able to participate virtually via Livestream, but their absence put a bit of a dent in the event. You’ll see them below the fold on the card’s B-side. And, having been excluded from last year’s card, Nellie Johnstone (aka, Number One Pooch) returns looking quite self-important.
Having downsized in 2019, this summer we tacked on a garage and full driveway — both great conveniences. I continue to work gratefully, as many I know were furloughed or lost jobs due to marketplace contraction brought on by COVID-19. August 2020 marked my eleventh spinal cord injury “Accidentiversary.” Alice continues daily to exude loveliness and heroism as she cares for me. My health would seem to be stable generally, but minor intestinal surgery planned for October was postponed by the sudden onset of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — blood clots in my left leg. I’m hoping to have DVT matters sussed out soon and to have that surgery in late winter.
I continue to pray for political calm and stability, and scientific, COVID-19-killing advancements. While it is easy to feel distrustful, fearful, and isolated, it is better to remember what we know, and by remembering to regain hope, confidence, vim, vigor and pluck. Though not commonly associated with the Advent season, I love William Cowper’s* God Moves in a Mysterious Way:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform:
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour:
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own Interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
(*1731-1800, pronounced “Cooper”)
The hymn above reflects God’s omnipotence and sovereignty in song. Remember also His Advent, foretold and fulfilled, is about His well-ordered, purposeful, most holy wise and powerful governing and preserving all His creatures and all their actions. Think about that. More importantly, own it and rest in it. These observations are but the tip of why we can and should be hopeful.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Take heart — God’s goodness crowns the year! For all the Heidels, I bid you the Happiest of Holiday Seasons, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And so does Nellie.