The Christmas Card that Wasn’t

Honey and I can’t agree on what my love language is.  I tell him that my parents did such a great job raising me that all five of Chapman’s classifications apply to me.  (He’s not buying it.)

At the beginning of December the mailbox starts to fill and I realize that Chapman missed a very important dialect of love – the Christmas card.  Seriously, I can’t tell you how full my heart feels after opening an envelope that contains a friend’s family photo and canned Christmas greeting.  And if the photo actually has my dear friend in it and not just their children, well, then I often feel I would burst.  It’s absolutely amazing. . .

So you can imagine the difficulty of our decision that Christmas cards would be an expense we would forego in 2011.  How would people know that we think of them and love them even though we are far away and rarely (or never) see them? An emailed card became the communication channel of choice and I added to my task list, “Write a clever and concise synopsis of our year”.

I looked at that list daily but couldn’t write.

First of all, having a blog makes writing a summary of the year seem redundant.  Never mind the fact that many of my friends don’t read this blog; the few who do would already know that Little is going to a special school and having the most incredible experience imaginable.  Readers would know that Bubba “played” soccer this year, started Kindergarten, and ended the year with muscle surgery in both eyes.  And there is no reason to retell blog readers that KB spent the year experimenting with the tension between being delightful and strong willed.

Secondly, I didn’t know how to be chipper and write a missive of merriment when 2011 was probably the hardest year of my forty years.  No one wants to read a holiday card recounting struggle and disappointment and it’s hard to put a festive “spin” on sin and sanctification.  It turns out I am no Job and, for the first time since I began speaking, I had nothing nice to say and realized it was truly better to say nothing at all.

Finally, when God is doing a big work in you and that work involves stripping away a lifetime of . . . stuff. . . well it’s hard to fit that on the back of a 4×6 postcard.  I did attempt a list of the events/happenings from  2011  and Psalm 73:6 came to mind, “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply.”   Then the problem was compounded when I (finally) started reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.  (Or as Psalm 73:7 says, “till I entered the sanctuary of God;”)  Being convicted of God’s perspective on 2011 made a Christmas card all the more difficult to write.

And now Christmas day has come and gone.  As I wade through the debris of our celebration I am eager to begin 2012 and see the plans the Lord has for us.  I am eager to learn how this past year was a year “to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], a plan to give [us] a hope and a future.” I am eager for a year of learning how to have a thankful heart in the day to day of God’s plan for me.  I am eager for a year with the theme of “Simple and Thankful”.

And to kick it off, I am going to stop this novelette and simply tell you guys that I am thankful for the people God has put in our lives; thankful for redemption; thankful that His Word is true.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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6 Responses to The Christmas Card that Wasn’t

  1. ~Mad says:

    I watched eagerly for your picture card. So glad to see this & I love Ann Voscamp!

  2. april says:

    Thanks for the digital picture. Love that your family is smiling in the picture even though 2011 hasn’t been full of much to smile about. Thankful to call you friend and walk through this season with you.

  3. Coralie says:

    I’m sending New Year cards. Maybe you should send out that card with this blog post and the canned sentiment “Here’s to 2012”.

  4. Sue Burch says:

    And we are thankful for you! Thankful for the work that God is doing in you, in Jeremy and in each of your precious little ones, whom we enjoy reading about so much. We miss you so much and do hope that we will see you soon – in STL, BHM, ATL or somewhere else! You inspire me so much to see all that God has for me is good and perfect for what He is doing in my life. Here’s to 2012 – I like your theme and will pray that for you!

  5. Annie Hathaway says:

    I totally understand your not wanting to spend the extra $$ to mail out cards. We are always trying to figure out the cheapest way to do it. The biggest expense for us is always the postage. This year we sent out over 80 cards and I think the total cost (including postage) was a little under $50. Even at 1 cent prints, it is costly!!!! I, too, feel the pull to just digitalize everything (because its quicker and easier and its FREE!!!) But I also have the same JOY at opening a real picture from the mailbox to put in our prayerbox and seeing which picture that family thought would best portray their family or their year or whatever they want to communicate. So please know that we do LOVE getting your picture as much as you love getting others’! But we saved your picture from last year – it is still in our prayerbox – and we will continue to use it to pray for you all until we get another picture. 🙂
    (By the way, I didn’t realize how hard 2011 was for you! 😦 I think your blog-post summary said it all very well – and think you should just copy and paste the post and email it to everyone who doesn’t read your blog! It was heartfelt and honest — and yet included some important news, too, for those who don’t already know it!)
    And may God bless you and keep you in 2012 – (hoping that its better and easier!) – but even if its not…… We love you and are praying for you!

    Love,
    ~annie

  6. amy sanders says:

    love you so. can you e-mail me your picture? and let’s talk sometime soon…once the plague leaves my house. 🙂

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