Thursday, December 25, 2008

Keal Family Christmas Photo 2008

Keal Family Newsletter, Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas Friends and Family!

Because of various Christmas songs, and stories, our children have heard that the Lord was born into this world to "save us from our sins."   I then tried to translate this idea for our children, and as the words came out of my mouth, I found myself "seeing the light" a little bit too:  "That means that the Lord can teach us how to be nice to each other, instead of being mean to each other."

One of the things I love about being a parent is how it forces me to explain things to my children in ways that they will understand.  And in that process I find myself understanding them better too.   This, I think, is a little bit of what the Lord was referring to when He said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me."  (Matt 18:3-5)    

This is also the state of mind that the Wise Men were able to get themselves into.  As wise as they were, they knew that they had things to learn from a little Child, "and they fell down before him and worshipped him."  (Matt 2:11)

What a wonderful time of year to remember the joy and wisdom that little children bring to our lives, as we celebrate the birthday of the baby Jesus, and the Lord's 1st Advent.

Now that's not to say that children are all sugar and spice and everything nice.   There are plenty of difficult things about parenting our small children.  Our Christmas Eve was actually pretty stressful, complete with tantrums and screaming.  I think we all went to bed feeling lingering anger at each other for our imperfections.   But it's hard not to wake up in a better mood when the first words that break the stillness of the early Christmas morning are spoken by a 4-year-old boy: "Wake Up!  It's Christmas!"   Our tired adult faces broke into smiles, and our tired adult bodies jumped out of bed.   

You know the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath-water."  I'm a firm believer in life being a constant mixture of "baby" and "bath-water."   There's always plenty of "bath-water" to get our spirits down.  But there's also always plenty of "baby" to get our spirits up if we're willing to get our hands wet.   The wise men knew this.   The shepherds knew this.   Lord, save us from our sins, and please help us to be nice to each other.

So speaking of the birth of a little child, I'm happy to announce that Tirah is pregnant with our 4th child!  She is due sometime around May 17th 2009.

We're enjoying our first Christmas in our new house.  We have a white-ish Christmas here in Lenhartsville.  It snowed several days ago.  And then on Christmas Eve it rained.  But the rain didn't wash away all the snow, so it's still a white-ish Christmas.

In music news.  I've completed all the background music for our Love Songs album, and we've recorded vocals for about half the songs.  There's still a lot of work to do before our Valentine's Day release date (finishing the vocals, mixing, mastering, creating the CD cover and liner notes, and getting it off to the replication house in time), but I'm still hopeful that it will be done in time for the Marriage Conference in Bryn Athyn.

Two separate people that found my music online have taken one of my Christmas arrangements from "Advent" and recorded vocals over-top of it.  If you would like to listen to them, click on the following links:
Lisa Shaye singing "Angels We Have Heard on High"
Aaron Kane singing "Away in a Manger"

And finally, we've continued what will hopefully become a tradition in our family, and created another Keal Family Singing Christmas Card, which I will send in a separate email.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love from, 
Solomon, Tirah, Thea, Cirdan, Jaden, and Baby.