Monday, December 22, 2008
I received a call this morning from a friend who wanted to double-check her address book before mailing us her second annual family Christmas letter. We hadn't connected since this time last year, so we chatted for awhile. As we prepared to ring off she quipped lightly, "Well, I've told you everything in our letter now, but yer gettin' it anyway!" (She's an ol' cowgirl...) She hadn't really told me everything--I'd only caught up on half her kids!--but even if she had it wouldn't change the blessing I'll feel when I receive her note.
We're not celebrating Christmas this year, but we're not disconnecting from everyone who is, either. We particularly enjoy receiving family letters, and have fun putting ours together...together. For the first few weeks of December it seemed like perhaps a lot of folks might not be writing them this year, though. Letter volume was way down, and the few cards that were showing up included drastically short notes from people who said they weren't in the spirit of Christmas and didn't expect to get that way. They sounded overwhelmed with the suddenness and busy-ness of the holiday.
More recently though, as we head into the final stretch leading up to man's traditional celebration of Christ's miraculous birth, I'm rejoicing to find our normal load of letters in the mailbox each afternoon. I'm finding that I have a mental list of each family, and as they "check in" I feel a renewed sense of connection and...relief? It is just so good to have an exchange! I surmise that since I am made in God's image, perhaps what I feel is a shadow of what He feels when we check in with Him. It is good--very good--to connect with our loved ones...
While we don't really have "favorite" letters--we enjoy each family's unique style--today I received the letter we always know will make us laugh so hard we'll cry. Far Side of Fifty's husband, Far Guy, has an incredible knack for turning "normal," "mundane," and even "negative" family circumstances into hilarious, adventurous single-sentence anecdotes. The guy's a hoot, and appreciation and humor just ooze out of him. We've been admiring his talent for years, and this year we take special strength from it as well.
We were blessed as we reflected on the advent of Christ's birth under the stars in our sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles in October, but we're also blessed to be a part of His expression of love through caring connection with His people. I guess that makes sense. He IS a God of relationship!