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2020 Christmas Letter

An accurate summary of 2020 should rightly mention COVID-19, earthquakes, and a general air of fear and loneliness. But we’ll only mention them, because in the spaces between anxiety and uncertainty, we are deeply grateful and often awed by the goodness of God.

This summer, Andy graduated with a PhD. We could insert paragraphs here about the efforts and angst of a dissertation and job applications, but suffice it to say that we held a surprise family barbeque in lieu of ceremonial pomp (a tradition that deserves to be upheld). In August, we loaded a U-Haul and said goodbye to a dear place and dearer friends. We drove three hours south to a small town where Andy now works as a professor. He rides a red bicycle to work and teaches primarily via video. It’s a strange year to start teaching, but we love the job and our new home!

We bought a house. We’re simultaneously pleased and overwhelmed by the acquisition of a home-place. People said, “Welcome to home ownership” with a wry expression that we now understand to mean, “Your own space, yay!” and also “Good luck with broken dryers, leaky sprinklers, and that perpetually falling-down shower curtain.” The girls love their pink chevron painted bedroom, Andy loves the yard, and I love the neighborhood. Andy built a compost pile, planted raspberries, and constructed garden boxes. We’ll spend the winter with seed catalogs, dreaming of sunshine and gardens.

Lucy is four years old, and Clara just turned two. Collectively, they have increased in vocabulary, sweetness, and spitfire. Lucy is beginning to read, and her favorite form of punctuation is the exclamation point. The irony is not lost on us: everything is exclamatory! Climbing, somersaulting, quasi-cartwheeling, laughing, joking, telling stories, coloring, biking, bossing, reading—it’s all big and exciting, except when it’s heart-wrenching and angry. But either way, it ends with an exclamation point.

Clara now speaks in full sentences (with the adorable diction of a toddler; you might need a translator). Her role models in life are Winnie the Pooh, Jesus and Lucy. Accordingly, her sentences are peppered with statements like, “Tut tut, looks like rain,” “Jesus loves me!” and “I color with you, Lucy?” Clara has a keen sense of humor and alternates between capably taunting her sister and wooing us all with her snuggly hugs and full-bellied laughter.

Jenny. As the author of this herald, my first inclination was to chronicle the year in losses: I have missed book club, REFIT®, family gatherings, old friends, and perusing the library shelves. But the gains of 2020 are unexpected and prolific. I have read more, written more, and enjoyed higher quality family time. My soul has been filled with unstructured time outside, impromptu child-guided preschool lessons, and simple, sacred “family church” meetings.

Friends, we have seen too little of you this year! We cherish every video chat, text message, and masked grocery-store run-in. Here’s to sweet hopes of hugs and gatherings in 2021.

Yours,

 –  Andy, Jenny, Lucy, and Clara

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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