Merry Christmas 2015 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

The wonderful Old Testament prophecy said, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given..." (Isaiah 9:6). He is referring, of course, to the birth of Jesus the Messiah. For the Holwicks it just as significant because this year we became grandparents with the birth of William Weston Holwick to Dan and Kara, on Danís birthday no less. Celeste and I flew out to Denver on faith and he was born two days later. The excitement of broken water and the late night rush to the hospital brought back many memories....

What is even better, they moved to Albany, New York, and so are only two-and-a-half hours away. Celeste has been adding babysitting stops to her itinerary when she visits her folks. She likes to think she got the first laugh out of him. Weston has something like a 98-percentile head and weight so he must take after his Grandpa Holwick. Our yard already has a tree in his honor. I wish my father could have lived long enough to see him; he would have been so proud to see the 7th William in our line.

Many other wonderful things have happened to us this year. Sarah and Matt Headley got married on top of a mountain in Vermont on August 1. It was a perfect day and a lot of fun which is just what you would expect for something with Sarah in the middle. It is the first time I have taken a gondola to a wedding. David walked her down the aisle, did a quick change with Celesteís help, and performed the ceremony. Josiah and Julia, of course, did the video. Sarah is an elementary teacher in Beverly, Matt works in a car dealership, and they are looking for a house on a lake that doesnít require half of their income.

In April our church donated a 2-week trip to Hawaii for our 25 years serving here at Ledgewood Baptist. We hit four of the islands and rented a different kind of car on each one - a jeep on exciting Kauai, a racy convertible on Maui, an economy clunker on Hawaii and public transportation on Oahu. We loved hiking all over Kauai and eating at the Blue Dolphin on the north shore before returning back to Hildeís condo (she is a member of our church). We also liked doing the ring road on Maui with picnics under waterfalls and seeing a live volcano eruption on the Big Island. Palm trees and sandy beaches do have their appeal!

It seems like everyone has been on the move this year. Becca moved to Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where she teaches yoga, rock-climbing and snowboarding except when the rich tykes want to learn skiing. She has a wonderful view of the lake and mountains and is learning to cope with the abundant snow. She also had an amazing ordeal in getting a new car that involved buses, motels and hiking but she finally got it done. Josiah and Julia bought a house in Lakewood outside Denver and continue to prosper in their video business. Josiah has made adventure a regular part of his life and went to Patagonia on the bottom tip of South America and then to Nepal. He has a gifted eye and a lot of ambition.

Kara got a promotion in AmeriCorps in Albany - a move they had two weeks to prepare for - and Daniel works in a hospital emergency room that is in walking distance. Their apartment is very retro and reminds me of government housing where I lived in the early 1960s.  They are slowly house-hunting.

Celeste is juggling changes at work and the need to help her family. Due to the policy on family leave she may not be able to take much vacation this year. When she can, she will be all set because we sold our old RV for $250 to a homeless guy and bought a used but very nice travel trailer with a slide-out for the dinette. I also had to get a pristine used truck to haul it. When we retire we want to tour the whole country but in the meantime we have taken it to some quiet local parks. We had a wonderful autumn to break it in with warm weather and bright colors. New Jersey can be truly beautiful. New York isnít bad either -- Celeste and I joined my brother Jeb and Kyong on a walking tour of Manhattan in November that included walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night, something I have always wanted to do.

New life abounds in Ledgewood. We have many new young families and I even had the privilege of doing six child dedications on one Sunday. Ministry fills our lives with Bible studies, hosting homeless families in the new Fellowship Center several weeks a year, and keeping up with the hospital visits and special programs. God has been good to us. We had a special opportunity to think of this at Thanksgiving when 51 family members crowded into the Triehy home in Pepperell. We hope you have also received many blessings, and that you have a wonderful Christmas that celebrates Godís deep love.

David & Celeste