Christmas 2018

This is our family picture and greeting card! When Monique and I met in January 1970, it was love at first sight! At least for me! I knew that this woman was really special and I wanted to get more acquainted with her. We dated a couple of years and then took the plunge into marital bliss on June 10, 1972. That was forty-six and a half years ago! From that initial meeting on the campus of Eastern Illinois University just after the Christmas break of our freshman year, God has blessed and blessed our lives and now our large family. What started out at just two young college students in love has now blossomed into a beautiful family of four children and spouses and eleven living grand children that are scattered out from Austin to Albuquerque to St. Louis and Sherman. I never had a vision for this, but Monique would later confess that we had actually fallen one child short of her goal to have five children. We will never know what kind of kid "Jonathon Michael" would have grown up to be!

At this time of the year we are extra thankful for those of our family that can get together for the annual and nearly Christmas Eve gathering (we are celebrating on the 23rd this year) for a formal sit-down meal of escargots (snails) and pâté for appetizers, an entree' of Coquilles St-Jacques creamed with crab and shrimp, and sirloin tip roast, along with sour-creamed mashed potatoes, green beans with heavy cream, concluding in typical French tradition with the ending salad of bib lettuce and hearts of palm, And for dessert, a white chocolate roulage and a brownie trifle with layers of whipped cream and finished with bits of toffee sprinkled on top. How many times did I mention cream? We are not counting calories at Christmastime!

Following our Christmas feast, we gather in our great room to open the gifts that by now line the base of the tree and are stacked against the back wall and wrapping around onto the fireplace ledge. This suspenseful exercise must be done according to our tradition that calls for each recipient to unwrap his or her gift in front of everyone so that Mrs. Santa and others can see the reaction and capture some of the action by cell phone photos! It is a great time of giving and receiving that goes on for much of the rest of the evening. All that remains must be postponed for the following night when we join others for worship at our church's Christmas Eve Candlelight and Lord Supper Service. This service celebrates the true reason for this season! Christ has come!

The Kepplers are wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years! God bless you and your family!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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