Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Mail

I didn't consistently send out Christmas cards before having children. I look pretty much the same every year, and what change there is, we're no longer at an age where it's quite as celebrated.

Now, with a growing family, we're part of the tradition. It's fun to share our lives with friends near and far, and it's fun to happily display their own joyful faces on our kitchen cabinets (following an idea from Pinterest, I pinned ribbons to the cabinet doors and am using mini clothes pins to hold the cards and pictures).

This year, I addressed and stuffed the envelopes with a great deal of awe and gratitude; it's not too long ago that it was just me-n-my-dogs. When you are a single adult, you cannot take for granted that you will some day be married. And when you are married, you cannot take for granted that you will have children. And yet, my home is full of my children's sounds and toys, and my pictures are full of faces of friends whom I have known since their own single, child-free days.

I love the Christmas card ritual because it is a reminder of all that I have been given. It has also been a reminder to me to pray for those who, in God's great wisdom and love, have not (yet) been given a spouse or children, and those from whom a spouse or children have been taken away too soon. Christmas, when it's magical, certainly feels like the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. But I want to remain mindful that Christmas, for many, is the Most Difficult Time of the Year.

In the words of Zeke from Parenthood, "I hear you, and I see you."

More importantly, God hears you and he sees you. That's why we have Christmas in the first place.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet 
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along 
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, 
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound 
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn 
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong, 
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail, 
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

1 comment:

Addie said...

That's my new favorite Christmas carol at my most-favorite, most-horrible time of year. MercyMe has a rendition that chokes me up every time, which is a funny way to know that something is really, really good: when it makes you cry.

Our Christmas card tradition is to wait to open them until Christmas morning, when all the presents are unwrapped. I have a Christmas time capsule, and all the photos we got last year are bundled with our photo and list we compiled of the previous year's events. We review the old stuff, then open the new. Faces added, faces gone, life writing stories across families and states and miles. We display the new pics for a while, compile a new list, and put the time capsule back together when we take all the decorations down.

I do miss displaying the photos though. Gotta figure that one out... Everyone send me two Christmas cards!!