Our Family Christmas Letter For 2004

Dear Family and Friends,

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Harrison Ford goes after the Holy Grail, there is a final test where he has to take a step of faith to get to the Grail. He has to cross a chasm over what appears to be a bottomless pit in order to claim the cup so he can use it to heal his father (Sean Connery) from a fatal wound.  The riddle he and his father have figured out has convinced him he must take a step out into the abyss—has to put his full weight into it—and as he does, sure enough, a bridge appears out of nowhere and his step lands on something solid that was not visible until the instant his foot came down on it in mid-air.  Issues of faith are like this.  It’s not enough to believe, you have to put your whole weight into it.  And when you do, you risk falling, but you find something solid. Taken from Nov. 23, 2004 THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN® LIFE Daily Devotional by John Fischer


Our big step of faith this year has been to move the video production companies out of our home and into a ‘real’ office building. Jon currently has five employees and has been looking for several years for the right location and timing. In August, after twenty-three years of ‘working from home,’ things have changed! All video operations are now performed at a beautiful office located in Friendswood – only about two miles away from our home. (see www.keepsake-video.com) Please make note that our home phone number has also changed – it is now 281-554-6365.

Meanwhile, Sharon continues teaching at Northside in Texas City enjoying a delightful group of kindergarteners and wonderful colleagues. Aaron is a waiter at a local Mexican restaurant and going to San Jacinto Junior College. Philip turned fifteen and started high school! Tim is ten and a fifth grader and Ben, a third grader, turned eight. They love video and computer games, playing with their friends, and evening story time with Dad.

We had four really big adventures so far this year (see photos at www.jonaldrich.com):

  • For spring break, Jon took Sharon away to Lake Tahoe. While there, despite his own fear, he made her lifelong dream come true—they went hot air ballooning!!!!

  • Sharon and the boys made the annual cross-country drive to Iowa/Illinois for fun with family including Rachel, Adam, Kayla—age seven, a second grader, Girl Scout, and American Girl doll Molly’s best friend; Kara—now two and ‘Gammah’s’ delight; Jon’s sister Marilyn and family from Maine and France; siblings Anne, Sandy, Gary, Don, Connie, Jean, and their families…. Jon flew in to Chicago to join us for a week. Sharon took Kayla and Molly to the American Girl Doll Place in Chicago for a dinner and theatre date.

  • In the works for many months, Jon’s surprise 50th birthday was held on June 27, the day before his real birth date, with forty family and friends, a video history of his life, and Rachel there, too! He had been ‘clueless’ and was completely speechless, a rare occasion! Thanks to all who had a part in making that happen!

  • Not to be outdone, Jon celebrated ‘Thirty Days of Sharon’s Birthday’ where each day from July 20 until August 20 he had surprises for her, too! Breathtaking! :o) Fifty roses at work, fifty helium balloons at home after work, and RACHEL -- cooking supper!! And Kayla, too!

One of my birthday gifts to myself was to take up walking in the mornings with my dear friend Rhonda. Unfortunately, one morning while walking with Jon, I took a bad fall and wiped out my left wrist, left knee, and right ankle. After six weeks of wearing an ankle brace, hobbling and recovering, I’ve recently resumed ‘the morning walk’—another step of faith!

Now for the ‘pending adventure’—Jon and I are taking Philip, Tim, and Ben to Las Vegas and California for Christmas! Imagine - Sequoia trees in the snow! We’ll fly out Dec.18 and return to Houston Jan. 1. Thanks for your prayers for us while we are away and all year long. Words cannot express how much we value and appreciate you all!

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Have you ever wondered how that could possibly be?

So much of our life is ‘ performance based’—excelling, exceeding,

measuring up, trying your best, outdoing others, ‘making the grade’…

Yet this is the remarkable truth of Christmas—you can’t earn it,

do’ or ‘be’ anything to deserve it,

but you choose to receive it…


In a dark theatre surrounded by the smells and crunch of popcorn, the captivating sights of Polar Express, and the ‘oohs and aahs’ of 120 kindergarteners experiencing the wonder of a movie as only a child can (“Teacher, is this REAL???”), I suddenly caught a glimpse into the workings of faith. In a poignant scene in the film, a little boy stands deciding if he should board the train or not. The train starts up, and while running to catch it, he falls face first into the snow. Meanwhile, kids on the train see his struggle and pull the brake cord to stop the train and help him. The one on the train then reaches out to the one who had fallen and another one is safely aboard….

Tears spilled down my face (“Teacher! Are you crying???”) as I recognized the touch of the Gospel in that moment—one hand reaching out to another… Sometimes I’ve been the one in the snow and you’ve stopped the train to help me… and perhaps sometimes it’s been my hand reaching out to you…


Grace is the train stopping; faith is grabbing that

outstretched nail-pierced Hand

and stepping aboard…

Merry Christmas and may God abundantly bless your steps of faith in 2005,

Love always,

Jon Craig, Sharon, Aaron, Philip, Tim and Ben