After Christmas Cards

I got a Christmas card from my dad yesterday.* It made me think about how sad it was that I didn’t get many cards this year, which isn’t surprising because I didn’t send many, either. But the thing I miss most about not getting cards is that thing which people love to complain about, the family Christmas letter.

My dad writes a Christmas letter every year, and signs it the same way no matter what he’s said in the letter. Some years it’s long, some years short. I have a cousin* who sends one detailing so much vacation time that if it were spread out among the family, we’d each have had two weeks! I love to read about where he’s been. My brother sends a letter that is thoughtful and spiritual and which makes me feel very shallow in comparison. That’s okay, there’s always something meaningful in his letter which makes me reflect on how I can be better. I don’t care what people put in their Christmas letters. I love getting them. And I missed some this year.

Now and then I write a letter. The main theme of my letters tends to be that Christmas isn’t a one day holiday, and that we don’t have to quit celebrating when December 25th has passed. I started using that theme to excuse the lateness of my cards, which have been mailed as late as a week after Christmas. I like to buy cards with the Three Kings on them, as a nod to Epiphany, and I usually write “Christmas is a twelve day season—Celebrate all twelve days!” I often include how much I enjoy thinking about the person to whom I’m addressing the card, and how much I enjoy my friendship or family connection with them. I just like to remind people that even when I’m not a good friend, I have appreciated their friendship.

The busy-ness of life has taken over in the last few years, and I’ve sent fewer cards and no letters. Of all of the things that I didn’t get done during the Christmas season, that’s the one I missed the most. I missed taking that time out to think about my friends and family, say a prayer for them, wonder about them. I missed including a letter that said how much they’ve meant to me, and I missed reminding them that Christmas can last longer than December 25th.

And now that I think of it, Christmas is not just a 12 day feast. Christmas is the reminder that Love was born into the world, and that Grace is a gift. Any day in which you share love and grace with others, Christmas is celebrated. There is no time limit on acknowledging God’s gift. Christmas is a 365 day season! Celebrate every day, until He returns!
You just might get a Christmas card at Easter this year.

(*NOTE—relationships, places, names, etc. in this blog may be changed for artistic purposes, such as today, when the card was really from both of my parents, and it’s actually from my mom and step-dad, since some people who know me, reading this, would say “why are her mom and dad sending a card together since they’ve been divorced for 40 years?” but my step-dad does the writing and mailing, so it’s really more from him for the purposes here. )

(*Note—exaggeration is permissible in blogs, and family members may not object, as they are now artistic purposes themselves.)

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