“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

A very special time in my life that I so vividly remember is when my father, an officer in the US Air Force, was transferred to a base in the countryside of northeast England. Our family arrived there in late summer of 1954. I would be entering 6th grade in the fall.

Our parents chose to live off base as they wanted us to become familiar with the English way of life and the value of living in a foreign country. After searching the countryside, they found a lovely home in a very small village of around 300 residents which was located seventeen miles from the base. The house was a beautiful two story Georgian style with six bedrooms and had been vacant for some time. Built in the late 1790’s, the house belonged to Lord and Lady Hastings who had an immense estate several miles away. Mom and Dad repainted the entire interior over the next couple of months and soon it was a warm and inviting home for our family.

The residents of the village had never been with Americans before and they welcomed us with open arms. Often we found baskets of vegetables and fruits on the doorstep. Afternoon tea time was shared with village friends on many occasions over the three years we lived there.

I shall never forget our first Christmas in England. We decorated a beautiful tree found in the woods nearby. Mom made huge wreaths for each of the front windows. Of course it is very cold in the winter in England! One evening we heard singing and discovered a group of villagers at the from door singing Christmas Carols—— “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Silent Night”, etc. A light snow began to fall as if by magic. Although this took place a long time ago, I continue to reflect on that special and wonderful Christmas when Kindness, Peace, Joy and Love abounded!