Christmas brings about a variety of emotions, and among these have to do with events that have taken place during the year. It’s been an exciting, challenging, and eventful 2007 for the Chisholm family. We’ve made new friends and are getting settled into a new community and church family. We have been blessed. There is great peace in knowing that you are in the right place at the right time.

One aspect of the move that has been somewhat amusing is the number of times people have asked me “what do think about Ozark weather?” I think back to our first weekend in Springfield when it rained, sleeted, snowed, and afterward the sun came out. This past weekend we had snow and it looks like we’re in for some more this weekend. I’ve been told that if you don’t like the weather, just wait about 20 minutes and it will change. At least there are seasons.

Another interesting feature of the move has been the reaction to my “accent.” I got wind that this was going to be a recognizable attribute when looking for an item in the store. The associate on duty, as she walked with me to the designated area of the store, said “you’re not from around here, are you?” I’ve also had people comment about it over the phone, so this is another evidence that I’m not in the south anymore (the familiar phrase “we’re not in Kansas anymore” would apply too, but now we’re not far away from that state!)

One fear that we had moving to southwest Missouri never materialized, and that had to do with Southeastern Conference Football and Auburn football in particular. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a station that carries the Lincoln Financial game of the week and on top of that most of the AU games could be seen there or ESPN. A sidebar story related to Missouri’s football team doing so well and playing in the Big 12 Championship game. Our local university, Missouri State, even had a 6-5 season which was their best in quite some time.

Today is Cally’s 10th birthday, and we celebrated this milestone last night with a small gathering of folks over at the house. A few of her friends were on hand, and the excitement is continuing with her first sleepover away from us. She was looking forward to the experience and this is another example of her growing up. I am proud of her work at school and her being so brave in meeting new people and making new friends.

Lucy will be five years old on the 29th, and has had a good year in pre-Kindergarten. She is outgoing and spirited, and is learning all the time. She will be in Kindergarten next Fall, which means she and Cally will be at the same school for the first time. Matt is 3 years old and is going half days at an elementary school to help him with his speech. He is adjusting well and has his friends too, especially now that Sam and Will are in the neighborhood.

Christmas is definitely about family, and I am grateful for mine. We’re also thankful for a church family who has received us and welcomed us into their lives. It has been a busy 7 months, and I believe we are off to a good start with our mission and ministry together. We have a good staff, strong laity, and overall positive energy going into 2008.

I’ve enjoyed observing the Advent season at University Heights Baptist Church. We are lighting the Love candle this Sunday and then the Christ candle on Christmas eve. These are truly “holy-days” and I am doing my best to enjoy every moment without getting caught up into the commercialism of the season. This can be a challenge. In thinking about getting and giving gifts, however, I am reminded that the greatest is still that “the Word became flesh.” Jesus is the reason for the season, and for EVERY season for that matter.

To those of you who drop by from time to time, let me say that I am doing well, staying busy with home and work duties, and doing my best to enjoy what I’ve been given. May you all be blessed with the hope, peace, joy, and love that only Christ can give. Merry Christmas from the Ozarks!