6 days: that Christmas letter
Not every family sends Christmas cards, and I get it on many different levels. I even have some friends that attempt New Year’s cards which eventually arrive in the mailbox around Valentine’s Day. It counts in my book because the year is still relatively new. Trust me, no judgment here as we sometimes have Blizzards from Dairy Queen for supper. NO. JUDGEMENT.
Having had pen pals as a teenager, I am still a big fan of real postal service mail, especially Christmas cards and newsletters. I enjoy reading each and every one. My aunt who passed away a few years back would tell me how much she loved receiving my card. Much before I knew I had a writer’s voice, she knew. In her gentle way, she would tell me to keep writing because my newsletter was her favorite each year. She loved watching my children grow in all the pictures, much the same as I do annually with the cards arriving in my mailbox.
Of course, every family has that friend or relative who shares a little too much. My sweetie and I would savor those letters. Waiting until the kiddos were snuggled in bed, we would giggle and snort through the retelling of a bad case of gout or my personal favorite: toe fungus. When I referred to the difficult blog I had recently read regarding Christmas cards and not sending them to grieving people, I originally thought the title was admonishing card senders for fabricating Norman Rockwell like families. Intrigued by the article, I read it in its entirety even though I could not identify with everything that author said.
I originally thought the article would be about not trying to portray your family as perfect, and instead I accidentally stumbled into an article about helping (or from the author’s viewpoint, hurting) families grieving the loss of a child. The concept of being real (okay, maybe not sharing about toe fungus) is refreshingly honest to me. Personally, I think that is the part of all of my talks, speeches, and blogs that resonates with people. I struggle, but more importantly, I share my struggles. If that is not your style, again: no judgment here.
I am far from perfect (and so too are all the people that share a home with me). We all have our moments, yet somehow we scrape our broken pieces back together and keep going. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? A perfect baby came so we didn’t have to even try to be perfect. He came to give us the hope that would become the glue, putting all the brokenness we experience in perspective. For that, I am truly thankful because I know we don’t have to be (or even pretend to be) perfect for God’s love to reach us.
So in the spirit of being real, I am sharing my sister-in-law’s absolute favorite Christmas picture of my kids, which was taken quite a few years ago. By a few year’s I mean longer than Sally Gal has been alive. So enjoy . . . my perfectly imperfect family!