Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cards

I have a bit of anxiety about Christmas cards every year.  What to send? When? To Whom? How to find the time?  Another item on the list that never gets done.  Even getting one in the mail stirs me into different levels of humanness; "oh, man, how did they get theirs out so soon, or so beaufitully, or why send it if you aren't going to write something, or oh, no, not another 'my life is perfect and I have perfect children'  letter that I have to read and behave nicely about.  Truth is, sometimes I let them sit a day or two before I even open them, giving myself time to get my stuff together in order to read or be happy about the card.  What a shame. 

So, all this thinking about Christmas cards has taken me back to our little farm house in Nebraska.  The memories are vivid complete with colors and wallpaper.  Pineapples.  Brown and Yellow.  Thermostat on the wall by the door, and the sit-on-able floor heater where we all gathered October through March.  Us, a random baby calf rescued from the winter night, and a pan of water for moisture in the air.  The smell of Vicks most often permeated our space giving a sense of comfort and warmth to an already lovely little home. 

Mom and Dad sat together on the dining room table, opened the drop leaf and began the holiday tradition.  
Each card was talked about.  Each person cherished.  Each got a personal letter.  Little half sheet but nicely written with good penmanship and pride.  I remember the conversation between Dad and Mom, "you write this one" or  "I'll write to them this year."  Imagine.  I wonder if they had Christmas Card anxiety?  I wonder if they felt pressured to "get them out?"  I wonder if they ever just thought, "not this year, I'm too tired, too busy, too unconnected to the spirit of Christmas?"   Oh, yeah.  They rocked, but they were real.  That's what was so cool about my parents. 

So what now?  Where do I go from childhood memories to present Christmas card anxiety?  I've decided that this is my Christmas card.  It's modern, it's high tech, and, it's a bit impersonnal, but it has the heart of the little farm house with the floor heater keeping us all warm.  As I write, joyful thoughts of  people who have touched our lives come to mind.  The forever friend, the neighbor, the children and grandchildren, parents and brothers.....faces pop into my mind,  people who I've worked with for years, people who've worked for me, people that I want to say, "you have been important to me, you have made me who I am.  Merry Christmas and thanks." 

Life is wrapped up in a Christmas card.  This year mine says, "Without you we could not survive. With you life is interesting, challenging and fun.  God sent his only Son for us to know just that.  We survive each year by the Grace of God through the people He sends into our lives.  We humbly wish you a Merry Christmas and wish for you a sampling of the joy we have been granted this year. 

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