A Personal Note at Christmas Time

LetterDear Reader:

Recently my wife, Kathleen, read the Nativity story from the Gospel according to Luke.  Her reading was straightforward until she came to the story of the prophetess, Anna, the widow who spent all her time in worship at the temple.  Anna, the account reports, was “very old.” In fact, it even tells us, “she was eighty-four.”

Kathleen could handle “old”.  But why, she wondered, was it necessary to say Anna was “very old”?  Kathleen will be eighty-five next March 1.  And I will cross that line ahead of  her by two months.  In fact, on Christmas Day.

Somehow that little insight has told us both we can fool ourselves no longer.  We’re so far along the road that we can barely see middle age in a convex rear view mirror. “The day is far spent.”

But life is still a positive challenge.  My highlight of the year was a flight to the West Coast with our first-born,  Carolyn.  She is a teacher who has won recognition for her skills and is about to retire.

We went west to touch base with Kathleen’s sister and husband.  There are health issues.  We went also to visit  Kathleen’s and my profoundly handicapped son, John David, and to contact one of Carolyn’s cousins, my niece Connie, who is also Carolyn’s longstanding friend.

What a great time we  had together, even though by a slip-up on the part of the car rental company we ended up tooling around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia in a Smart Car.  The sensation while driving is somewhat normal except that there’s virtually no car behind the front seat. It’s like driving around in half a car.  It was fun.

Kathleen doesn’t single out one particular highlight of the year but I can say for her that she continues to bring beauty to our shared life.  There’s the small back yard that she fills with flowers each summer. There’s the endless variations of  bread she bakes that always seem to tease the palate in a fresh way.  And her quick humor keeps our days livley.

We enjoy our children immensely, Carolyn and Doug, Don and June, and Robert and Jan, and we seize every opportunity to be with them.  Doug is a manager in a company that manufactures electrical equipment.  Don has his  publishing and editing business — Bastian Publishing Services. June is a  recovery room nurse.  Robert has The Bastian Voice Institute in Downer’s Grove, IL.  He is a busy laryngologist and Jan is very involved in his work.

We have 11 grandchildren, four by marriage.  Four great-grandchildren, the oldest five years of age,  allow us to observe the unfolding of another generation.

And, on the threshold of 85, I still preach, teach and write.  Here at Light and Life Park in Florida I teach Bible lessons to a Sunday night congregation during the winter months. And, of course, I blog each Monday.

Our lives are enriched by knowing that you are there, though in some cases only via this “e-link.” During this busy Christmas season, may you  make time to reflect on the profound truth that in Jesus, God became man – for our salvation!

In Christian love,

Don and Kay Bastian

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2 thoughts on “A Personal Note at Christmas Time

  1. Don: I chuckled as I read of Kathleen’s dislike of the word “old”…especially when her age is very near that of “Anna’s.” Yvonne has a word she does not want applied to her, “elderly.” She will be 83 this summer.
    I very much resonate with your attitude about this stage of life. I too feel that there are marvelous ongoing opportunities and challenges to pursue.
    Lord willing, right after New Years we will drive our motor home down to Rancho Betania in northern Mexico to coordinate the work teams there for two months.
    God has been good to us. We want to be good stewards of all he has given us.
    Blessings! Bob

    • Robert: The best of the season to you both. It’s good to get your note. Tell Yvonne that I was titled an elder when I was 30 so I must have been elderly for 55 years. What else is new? But I do understand her dislike of the word when it is applied in the usual way — a cane, hearing aids, a completely undependable memory, etc. If you’re going to head south for Mexico for a supervisor’s job then there must be lots of life in you both yet. God’s blessing on your mission. I’m having a great time digging in Isaiah for the Sunday night Bible studies here this winter. God bless! Don

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