Dear Family and Friends,
This year has been filled with Hope. We have settled into much more of a “normal” life with Clara and her health, and it has been a poignant reminder that, by the grace of God, the things we had hoped for have become our reality. She remains a symbol of hope for us, and through her we have learned that even during difficult, scary, challenging and dark times, God has a future planned. We have pursued that hope, prayed for that hope, and now we are living it. This gives us courage to continue hoping for more wonderful things ahead, and to believe that they will also be fulfilled. We are able to appreciate this season of life so much more richly than we might have otherwise, having faced the possibility that it might not be a reality. We know that God’s hope is bigger than any of the worries of this world.
This year has been filled with Peace. It has felt like the calm after the storm in many ways and we have enjoyed the (relative) quiet and stillness of a simpler life. We continue to pray for peace for our country, our world, and the hearts of many who are broken and hurting.
This year has been filled with Love. We are so richly blessed to experience the love of God, the love of family and the love of friends. We are thankful for the love that we share for each other and this awesome wild intense love for Clara – such a tiny person who elicits such powerful feelings from us. I heard someone once describe parenthood as “an expansion of your capacity to love that happens so quickly that it’s painful.” And we feel it; often we feel as if we’re about to burst from the love welling up inside of us for our little girl. We treasure these moments with our loved ones, knowing that we should not take a single one for granted because we are not promised another day.
This year has been filled with Joy. There are so many sources of our joy: our beautiful home, our family and friends who make us laugh and share our burdens, a new job for Robert that brings him contentment and affirmation, a church family to whom we have grown closer these past twelve months, the opportunity for Chrissy to stay home with Clara and savor these fleeting moments of her childhood, as well as the wonderfully satisfying and perfectly part-time work at Salem College where she continues to adjunct in the education department, a beautiful and sweet new niece – Audrey Rebecca Davis, some wonderful memories made at the beach, in the mountains, and on the farm, and too many other blessings to count. God has given us happy hearts and we are striving to savor and express that joy each day.
Our prayer is that your family is also blessed with Hope, Peace, Love and Joy this season and in the year ahead. We send our biggest wishes for a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Robert, Chrissy, Clara (and Rufus) Hardy