Merry Christmas 2016 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for preachers. There are a multitude of special events to organize but everyone looks forward to it. I hope my sermons can bring out the significance of Godís dramatic visit to us in the form of a little child. I hope that, like the shepherds, everyone will be amazed at what God has done for us (Luke 2:18).

Our family is becoming more settled. Dan and Kara are loving Albany, Josiah and Julia are discovering the joys of house maintenance in Lakewood, Colorado, and Sarah and Matt have a beautiful home on a lake in Amesbury, Massachusetts. It has also been a dramatic year for Rebecca. Celeste and Sarah got to visit her out in Lake Tahoe and admired her set up. Unfortunately the heavy snows broke a series of her tents, and then druggies (we presume) stole it poles and all. She loves it out there and continues to teach swimming, yoga, rock climbing and snowboarding.

Our huge event for the year was our August trip to Norway with the entire family, including little Weston who looked adorable in his horned Viking knit hat. My momís mother was born in Hylla, a small village north of Trondheim, and I have always wanted to visit it. We rented three cars and a series of Airbnb apartments, and toured a good chunk of the country. The fjords were breathtaking; Celeste assumed the beautiful pictures in the travel brochures were cherry-picked but we found that much of the country looked like that. We drove from Oslo to the inner mountains and fjords, then out to the coast and up to Hylla. Josiah flew his drone everywhere, including the top of a very tall tree. His footage was absolutely amazing. He also got to make a dramatic proposal to Julia, who said "Duhh." Now they just have to pick the date.

Hylla itself was small but very quaint and had farmland coming right down to the water. I had a 1910 postcard of the village and the modern view is not very different. It made me wonder why they left it for North Dakota. Having land you could call your own must have been the biggest reason.

Back in the USA we packed a lot into September. A sizeable group from the church drove our RVs out to Pennsylvaniaís Lancaster County to see the "Samson" play, which all of us enjoyed. Later in the month David attended the annual New Jersey Baptist convention and got to baptize three members in the Atlantic. It was very dramatic since one of them had limited movement but God sent a big enough wave to immerse him. I was immersed too and lost my glasses in the surf. We concluded the month by taking our old friends Jimmy and Gale Hull into New York City so Jimmy could go to a very special bookstore.

In October our church hosted "21 Days of Prayer" leading up to the election. The election results were not what I expected at all but I can see great potential benefits as well as potential shortfalls. They say the office changes people. We certainly hope so.

Our wider family is doing well. Niece Petra had a beautiful wedding down in Texas that I performed, and Celeste and Dan and his family joined us. Celeste has made many trips up to Massachusetts to keep track of her parentsí doctor appointments and they reciprocated by coming down here for Thanksgiving. It is wonderful to see so many of the family around the table and to consider how God has blessed each one. As we count down to retirement (2 years?) Celeste has been "Zillowing" ocean frontage homes near Bar Harbor, Maine. We will see... I still want to do a big circuit of the United States with our RV before deciding where to settle down.

As the years go by we have learned to appreciate the blessings of having so many dear friends and family. You have been our shelter in the storm and a continual source of joy. We hope God gives you His richest blessings in the coming year.

David & Celeste