December 25, 2020
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his
name Immanuel (which means God with us). Matthew 1:23
Dear Friends and Family,
As we finally arrive at Christmas this year, after what feels like many years squeezed into one, the Carlsons are planning on a pandemic-insulated celebration. We will not be together with our wonderful families spread throughout the continent, and that separation stings. But we take heart, knowing that God is sovereign and He is always WITH US. Jesus was born, lived and died so that the separation between us and God could be closed for good. So while we eagerly await the day when the pandemic will pass, we have peace in these interposing days knowing that our Savior is with us.
Yes, the pandemic impacted us in many ways this year. If I had started a draft of this letter in January, the centerpiece certainly would have been a trip to Costa Rica. We had planned a spring break trip to visit friends in San Jose, Costa Rica. Of course, those plans were dismantled by the global pandemic in March. We’re now hoping for the opportunity to use the purchased airline tickets in 2021. So rather than travel, we became even more home-based than usual and spent quality family time together biking, hiking and having backyard movies and fires.
Elliott and Zachary’s school shifted to full distance learning in March and the boys fared quite well with the sudden shift. Summer vacation brought warmer weather and lots of walks and bike rides in our city. We did visit the Carlson lake cabin for a few days, which the boys loved. And a two-night camping trip in September was also a welcome diversion. At home, the boys are avid readers and enjoy playing Minecraft and Roblox with each other and friends. They have continued to progress in piano lessons thanks to Zoom classes with their teacher.
Becky continues working at Hiawatha Church managing the books and the office. She also took a new position this fall as a homeschool teacher. She has embraced the new role, and her students are thrilled to be able to get more in-person support on their lessons! Becky also marked a special birthday this year (shared with Zachary) and we celebrated by renting out our local movie theater for a socially distanced movie night with a few friends. She continually amazes me with her servant heartedness and love and concern for others.
My data integrity compliance manager job with Estee Lauder shifted to work from home for many weeks and I now split my time between home and the office. This arrangement brings fresh challenges of course, but there’s success to be found and it’s exciting to use this opportunity to think creatively about solutions. I was the point person for an important regulatory audit in July that was conducted entirely remotely, which was something new for our company. I also spent lots of time learning how to livestream church services as Hiawatha Church worked through the restrictions in place. We are thankful that the church is still the church whether gathered or scattered.
In late May, our city of Minneapolis went through some very trying times. We live less than a mile from where George Floyd was killed by a police officer, igniting a week of protests - both peaceful and violent. We watched marches go by our house and picked up chunks of ash from our yard as they fell from burning buildings on Lake Street. We met with our neighbors to establish watch schedules through those dark nights and to discuss how to support each other. We built local relationships where previously there were none. We talked to our children about the difficult topic of racism, an ugly “virus” that’s been around a lot longer than Covid-19. Through it all, we have prayed earnestly for our city and our brothers and sisters of color who live here with us. We are comforted to know that Jesus died for the ugliest of sins and we can love because He first loved us. May His love be present in your lives in the coming year. Merry Christmas!
With Love, Peter, Becky, Elliott and Zachary Carlson