Well, I promised you Christmas news, and this year there’s plenty. I’ll start with the big ones.
We had two engagements in the family announced at Christmastime.
My brother Paul John surprised his now-fiancée Crystal Hughes, who expected a digital camera, with an engagement ring. When they phoned us on Christmas day, I explained that a digital camera would at least have been useful, but Crystal seems very happy with the deal, and we all share in her excitement, although it would seem to be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
A rare photo of Hell on the day my brother became engaged.
When my sister Joyce arrived to visit us this Christmas, we learned that my Mom had become engaged to long-time neighbor and friend George Fortini. Mom turned 80 in September. Let me explain a bit.
First of all, we called Mom and chided her: “What?! You didn’t tell the whole family yet? The next time you get engaged you’d better call all of us!” Mom explained that she was working on it, but she didn’t want to eclipse Paul and Crystal’s news. (Mom was one of the few people who knew about that before Christmas.)
Dad went home to be with the Lord at Christmastime three years ago, after almost 60 years of marriage to my Mom. The same week, Ellen, the wife of their close friend and next-door-neighbor, George passed away. (Oft have we teased Mom about that “coincidence” in timing.)
George and Mom started hanging out together more and more. Mom was very concerned about what the rest of us thought about that, despite our constant assurances that we were very happy for them both. I did tease her, “You know, Mom, you can’t marry him because he’s not a believer.” I also gave Mom a lecture on the dangers of dating in a Postmodernist society. Behavioral standards have changed a bit since 1945, the last time Mom was “on the market.” She assured me I had nothing to worry about.
Not long after that, George trusted Christ as Savior. Mom, perhaps underestimating the power of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, declared, “George is saved, but he will never abandon his Catholicism.” A few weeks later George was regularly attending services at Heritage Baptist Church with my Mom.
On the Thursday before Christmas, George proposed marriage to my Mom, and she accepted. She was so giddy (I wish you could have heard the excitement in her voice), that she forgot about a weekly appointment for one of the “old ladies” for whom Mom drives.
Mom and George have not yet set a wedding date, as they are working out legal and “estate” details. Maybe they’ll do a double wedding, although Paul John has been talking about a Hillbilly wedding ceremony …