Merry Christmas 2015 from the Kerns Family

Dear Friends and Family,

"Brokenness and Beauty.”  If I had to sum up this last year, then this would be the phrase that paints the best picture.  

I had such high hopes of this year being the greatest year on record.  Both Katie and I turned 40, our kids are in 5th and 3rd grade and fully capable, and increasingly independent and moderately responsible little people.  Yes, this was going to be the year of greatness for the Kerns family.  

But as quickly as this year began, all of my original plans came crashing to screeching halt.  A few days after my birthday, I tripped and fell, while FaceTiming my son and broke my kneecap in half.  And with that embarrassing fall, everything changed.  This year was the year I gave up on physical fitness.  No more running or eating right.  What was incredible was that all of those hours of trying to run, worrying about running and what I weighed, got absorbed into being content and filling my belly with burritos.   All kidding aside, it was actually a relief to take a break from being driven in all things and trying to outperform some mythological version of myself.  And in this season was glad to be the husband, father, friend, and pastor that God has called me to be.  In the midst of my body being broken, God was able to do a new work in my heart and has given me a renewed sense of call to my little corner of the world.  

Adding to the brokenness, Noah didn’t want to be outdone.  This fall we went out for a little backpacking adventure deep into the Desolation Wilderness.  And at 8 miles away from our car, my son and his buddies, playing with rocks and boulders, ended up having his foot smashed to smithereens.  His pinky toe popped like a grape and that toe along with the toe next to it got crushed to pieces.   But my son, being the beast he is, walked back those 8 miles and took the extensive cleaning by the nurses like a champ, and then proceeded to play in his baseball game the next weekend.  It was quite an adventure and I could not be more proud of how brave and tough my boy is.  Too bad he loves the Seahawks.

If the boys of the family embraced the brokenness portion of our family, then it only makes sense that the ladies would fill in the beauty portion.  

8 years old has proven to be an incredible year for MacKenzie.  She has become self aware and has found herself practicing every and all mannerism in front of her mirror.  Everything is being done in her mirror for improvement and evaluation from her trying out some new hairstyles, to using contraband makeup, to hosting her own radio show, to practicing some questionable dance moves.  And for as beautiful as she is becoming on the outside, I could not be more impressed with the beauty she is becoming as a person.  She put herself out there and ran for student council, she has taken on the big sister role to her little friends and cousins, and her heart explodes with empathy for the underdog!

Last but not least is my lovely wife.  Of course she always falls in the beautiful column.  I know that I am biased, but Katie is hands down, the most beautiful person ever!  This year she has, once again, committed to loving and caring for all the people in her world  She has given herself to our kids’ school and has been a blessing to the PTA and teachers.  I am continually blown away at the bandwidth Katie has to love and care for people, and this year, she stepped up her game!  As much as I have loved her generosity towards so many people,  Katie has spent her 40th year being beautiful in every possible way.  And this reality made our vacation in Hawaii that much more fun.  :)

It does seem that this year, in just about every way possible was full of brokenness and beauty.  And I am thankful that as we turn the corner towards Christmas we are reminded of the hope, love, joy and peace that comes with Christmas, and in some miraculous way, it is through Christmas that God seems to have an incredible way of turning all broken things into things of beauty.  And may that be the case this year as well.  

Merry Christmas! 

Love,

Ben, Katie, Noah and MacKenzie