December 12, 2017

Advent 2017

"Hopes and Fears"

October 18, 1980, dawned sunny and beautiful in Athens. It was Saturday and it was my first homecoming as a student at the University of Georgia. Recently I had pledged Phi Kappa Theta, and the fraternity had plans to gather in Sanford Stadium to watch Georgia take on Vanderbilt. Near the end of the game, my friend Dan asked me if I would mind walking a little sister back to the fraternity house because she needed to run an errand before we all went out for dinner. "Be glad to," I replied, and that was how I met Tricia Wilborn. My first impression of her was that she was very pretty and had bright blue eyes and a warm smile. What could she possibly think of me, awkward and just out of the hills of North Georgia? By the time we got to the house, I was smitten. Soon enough we began seeing each other and the relationship grew during those years of hopes and fears of college life. 

September 7, 1985, another Saturday in Athens, found us in the sanctuary of Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. I had asked Tricia to marry me before but she wisely said that we should wait until our degrees were completed. So, one month after she received her Masters in Education, we stood before God, our families, and our friends and pledged our love. We settled in Athens where we began our careers - she in the health profession, me in real estate. As to be expected we did not have much in material things and our work schedules kept us apart, but we did have the dreams of our young lives ahead of us.

July 15, 1991, was a typically hot summer Sunday in Savannah. We had just moved to town so that Tricia could take a position at Memorial Hospital. Before leaving Athens, our pastor suggested we visit First Baptist because he felt we would feel at home here. Tricia worked the first two Sundays after our move while I visited First Baptist Church. On her first visit to church we joined. Many of you reading this know the rest of our story. This church has become an integral part of our lives. You have witnessed our hopes and our fears and have journeyed with us. It is with love that we have also journeyed with you.

Advent 2017 is upon us and offers me a time for reflection. I am not young but not really old, either. In examining my life I cannot point to just one event or experience that has been life changing. Instead, there have been several large and small events that have shaped who I am. To be alive means we will experience hope and fear, but the one constant of life is the love that God has for God's creation through Christ.

-- Doug Craig

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