Merry Christmas From the Vicarage

Merry Christmas Family and Friends

The Lillies of The Vicarage send you Christmas greeting and well wishes for the New Year.

The Vicarage is nearly ready for the Christmas holiday. We set up the main tree on my birthday. Melanie, James, Amanda, Daniella and Abigail all helped. It was a truly wonderful day.

Since then I have been setting up little bits and pieces of Christmas each day. It has been a wonderfully relaxed way to decorate during this normally very busy season.

The first snow has fallen making the outside of the Vicarage look all Christmassy. It is heavy shoveling but perfect snowman snow.

Last Tuesday two of my grandys came over to stay with me for a few hours. James, Melanie and Amanda all had ministry commitments at the church. That left Oz (that’s what the grandys call me) to sit with them for the evening. So they came to the Vicarage. The girls visited with Great Gramma, and we set up the children’s tree and then baked cookies.

I am so looking forward to next Christmas when I am hoping to have a tree set up, and Christmas cookie night with Oz. for all my grandys.

Joe, Kristine and Sevy are still wading through the immigration process from South Korea. But I am hoping that sometime this winter they will be here with us at The Vicarage for keeps.

The church is also set for Christmas thanks to a team of very dedicated volunteers who came just after Thanksgiving to deck the halls.

Of course there is much more to a year than Christmas. This year I took my first sabbatical of ministry. It was a powerful time of prayer and prophetic utterance for me and for the church. It is leading us into the new year with a greater sense of destiny and soberness than I have ever felt before in my thirty one years of ministry.

Brenda was home at the end of my sabbatical and we took a much needed day up to Maine. This photo was taken at Nubble Light

Also during sabbatical, work on the Vicarage continued. After the tear down of the stone porch we had the pipes to the street dug up and replaced and this fall just before snow flew the town came in and replaced the pipes from the edge of our property to the main pipe in the center of the street

We have stopped work now for the winter, but come Spring we will have a lot of landscaping to do. I am looking forward to that time. I think we are about to invest lots of sweat equity into this place. I sense things are about to change for us as a church and a family. I am excited and trepidatious as I look into the future. I feel we are about to face some of our greatest challenges and some of our greatest victories.

We have gone through a tremendous change in the last year.

Both at home, and at the church.

The changes have been both physical and spiritual. We don’t look the same. We are not the same.

I also know the changing is not done. We are on the edge, in the place of preparation for the biggest changes yet. What has changed is just a seed, a spout of what is to come.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

I have not yet spoken about Mom and the changes that have overtaken her this year. Mom has struggled with vascular dementia for the last several years. This year it has advanced significantly and her physical condition has slowly declined as well. She wonders many times why she is still here. I know it is for us kids. Mom still remembers much of the distant past and the stories she is able to tell are important for us to know. Our lives today are links in a very long chain. History is not just prequel. It is also the key to prophecy. What was shall be again. The foundation laid determines the course of the construction. What we are is, in part because of those who came before us. So the story of our lives has been told in the stories of those who have gone before us. Mom still has a job to do. My hope is that as we all face this future together she will embrace her new role even as we each have to embrace ours.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

God has told me that the world is a tapestry that is torn. Each of us are threads in that tapestry and our future relies on us being able to see both where our threads have come from and where they are going. Success demands that we fix all the tears and bring the tapestry back together…. Destiny and sobriety…..

Christmas is a time of great rejoicing. We rejoice over what has been. We rejoice over what has been accomplished. And we rejoice over the possibilities yet to come.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas At the Vicarage 2019


My dreams for Notes From the Vicarage were so big when I started. I had this vision of giving the blogosphere a glimpse into the life of a ministry family that is unique in its makeup and experience (at least it seems that way to me). One of the drawbacks of ministerial life however has gotten in the way. BUSYNESS!

So much has happened since August and contending with all of it has taken up so much time that there was little time left over to write about it. But now that the holidays are over…or almost over, I am coming back to this template to try again to open a portal into our world.

Christmas at the Vicarage was a small affair. That is Christmas Day was a small affair. The Christmas season was as big as ever. We had several parties to attend. There was Christmas shopping and wrapping. My sister attended an annual cookie bake. We decorated two trees at our house and of course the church had its own decorating day right after Thanksgiving. Our artist’s community had two caroling opportunities one at the town’s annual historic Christmas house tour and the other as we went to several elderly complexes to share the joy of the season. It all culminated in our church’s annual Christmas Eve candlelight service which was absolutely wonderful.

So a quiet Christmas Day was well in order. We had 7 to Christmas brunch. That may not seem small to you but when you compare it to our church receptionist Wendy’s gathering of 35 or our Board secretaries gathering of 64 well…I’ll take 7!

James, Melanie and Daniella arrived at about 9:30 in the morning. That was perfect timing. It gave Mom time to wake up and prepare herself but not enough time to fall into her usual doldrums over the holidays. Daniella has this magical power to lift my mother’s spirits.


I made stuffed French toast, turnovers, sausages, a pasta dish, a fritata and cole slaw. We broke out the egg nog, wassail and apple cider. Then after we had brunch we opened gifts.


Amanda made this stuffed Yoda. It was Melanie’s gift to her husband James. I have such talented daughters.

James had to be to work so the Franklin family left at about 1:30 in the afternoon and then it was naps all around and then the traditional evening at the movies. We saw Jumanji II!

Does it seem odd to you that a ministry family would go to the movies on Christmas Day?