Surviving the Christmas Season: Part 4 of 4 Traveling with the Holy Family…

“Lunch Ministry”…

Definition: The act of two or more friends meeting for lunch and ministering to one another.

a/k/a Cheaper-than-therapy.

a/k/a The single-most-difficult-activity to explain to our husbands.

So….one day before Christmas several years ago, my friend and mentor, Jane Chilton and I met at one of our favorite lunch spots, the infamous Jack Fry’s. ( ) Sidebar: Do not miss the warm brie salad. (Do tell Stephanie, the sweet owner, Jane and I sent you. And please give her a hug. She loves hugs.)


This was to be our Christmas celebration with each other. Before we ordered our iced tea, Jane reported, “We need to run back by my place as your gift is in a box too big to bring into the restaurant.” Wow…mega anticipation grew during our entire meal! This gift-loving gal was beyond excited.

Lunch over with, back to Jane’s we went. En route, I checked my cell phone and had a voice mail from an unknown number, and… the area code was from Lexington. Yikes—such sightings always made me worry about my parents.

Sure enough, the call was from a caregiver of my parents and my Dad had fallen and broken his leg–his femur, no less. They were in the ER of a Lexington hospital.

Quickly I told Jane of the phone call. We hurriedly opened our gifts. To my delight, Jane gave me a lovely sculpture of Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus. (I love it so much it stays out all year, decorating our home.)

Holy Family

I put it back in the tremendous box, securing it in the back seat. Jane prayed for me and for whatever I’d be facing, and off I trekked to Lexington.

This was one of many trips to Lexington throughout Daddy’s rehab, etc. to heal that badly broken leg. Hundreds of hurdles to jump presented themselves.

By then, Mother had quit driving. Getting her rides to the hospital and subsequently to the nursing home were just a few of the hurdles.


On about the fourth trip over to Lexington, several days later, I glanced in my back seat, and there was the very large box from Jane. Unnoticed until now, the words “HOLY FAMILY” were printed along the tallest side of the box.

I burst out laughing and called Jane. Not missing the parallel here, I decided:

Toting the Holy Family back and forth with me to Lexington was a huge source of comfort.

Peace Of Mind.

Not that I needed them per se, since we believers are all blessed with the Holy Spirit within us…but especially during difficult times, we sometimes forget our Advocate is WITH US all along.

Yes, that Christmas season, the Holy Family logged many miles from Louisville to Lexington and back again. Who knew that such a big box filled with the blessed family could be such a security blanket?

As we reflect upon Christ this Christmas, may we take the time to rejoice:

O Holy Night

In a message Billy Graham preached at the White House in 1973, he said, ”When others cynically ask, ‘Where is this Prince of Peace in a world filled with so much trouble?”

Reverend Graham continued, “But the real Christmas message goes far deeper. It answers all the great questions that plague the human race at this hour.

The Christmas message is:



And Reassuring to us today.

I believe it can be summed up in three words:

A Cradle,

Wooden Baby Cradle

A Cross,

Wooden Cross on Dramatic Sky

And a Crown.”

Gold crown isolated on white background

Let’s close by reading (or perhaps singing?) the beautiful lyrics to O Holy Night. (Originally composed by Adolphe Charles Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, Chretiens” by Placide Cappeau, Placide used the gospel of Luke for his inspiration. It was John Sullivan Dwight who wrote the English translation.)

My prayer is for these words to literally help us all fall on our knees, savoring the Christmas Season:

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

‘Til He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn’

Fall on your knees, Oh, hear the angels’ voices

O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

O night, O holy night, O night divine!

O night, O holy night, O night divine!


Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.

O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,

Now come the wise men from out of the Orient land.

The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;

In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,

Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!


Truly He taught us to love one another,

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains He shall break, for the slave is our brother.

And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

With all our hearts we praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

His power and glory ever more proclaim!”


Fall on your knees.

Rejoice, our Savior is born.

Savor your Christmas Season.

Our family wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy Blessed New Year!!!

Hoagland Family

Our precious Hoagland clan descended upon Hyde Park, near Cincinnati recently for a fun, overnight shopping spree. Left to right on the back row are Gordy, John Jr. and Lauren. Left to right on the front row are LT, Woody, Goldie the Golden Pig (No idea what her real name is!!!), Yours truly and Beloved Hubster John.

‘Til next time!

And as we used to say prior to Christmas Break at school, “SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!”

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