A Piece of 5x7 Cardboard

Christmas cards may just be my favorite holiday tradition.

There is so much love that goes into the design of our family christmas card every year. And our decade of correspondence is proudly displayed in chronological order to show the evolution of our lives.  Eleven family cards - two the first year we were married, one at the beginning of that year, one at the end.  It doesn’t seem possible that ten years have come but I can see in the snapshot of our holiday cheer the growth - in our family, in our faith, in our love.

Each one of these cards breathes the life of our year.

Stories of loss.  Stories of love.  Stories of satisfaction and some of chaos.  There are cards with just the children (or child) featured - no family picture - because I hated the way I looked and was so embarrassed for people to see how the year beat me up.  There are cards with genuine smiles and excitement.  Where we all are literally glowing.  There are announcements of new family members, new projects, of dreams coming true.  There are cards of great health and contentment.  And cards where I can see the consternation of malcontent.  There are cards that are silly.  And cards that sparkle.  

Each one of these cards tells our story.

I realize as I open the mail that the cards we receive are telling the stories of the lives of our friends and families.  This year, two cards announced the birth of new babies, one was of a friend who recently got divorced.  A couple’s first married Christmas. There were cards from new neighbors.  Cards from some of our oldest friends.  Others included pictures of children who are growing, families who are surviving, and new seasons that have ushered in changes in addresses, in jobs, in location.

A year of our lives neatly summarized on a piece 5x7 cardboard.

I’m not sure of the power in a single, individual card but the totality of the years serves as a reminder to me why I send these cards - to celebrate a season that gave birth to the One whose hand writes the stories of our lives.  There is no guarantee or promise of a happy new year, but there is a promise of hope in Jesus.

Each Christmas card, for me, is a Thank You Note for another year of headlining the story that is being written. And no matter the season, I’m grateful for another year.

Peace, Love & Happiness in 2018.