This year I decided not to mail out cards. First year I haven’t for a while, but I wanted to be budget conscious and blog more, so I am doing a Christmas blog instead of mailing a card.
I really enjoy getting cards and letters from people, so this won’t be an ongoing thing. I know to get them you have to participate in the sending of them as well. I just want to thank everyone who sent them this year despite the economy and the busy-ness. I have enjoyed reading them all.
So here we go…
2009 is almost in the history books. Ten years ago seems like a lifetime away for me for so many reasons, but at the same time life is going by way to fast. Remember Y2K and the panic? Was that really 10 years ago? For me that was pre-Chris. He wasn’t even on my mind. He says he told friends that NYE that he would meet his Mrs. Right in 2000. Turns out he was right, and I found my Mr.
I turned 40 this year along with some of my friends. I am not sure that we all approached it the same way or if I was the only one willing to admit it. I cried for more than a day. How crazy is that? Then I laughed that I was crying. People say it will be the best decade of my life and I think now that I have gotten started on it a little more, I may agree. There is a lot less pressure from the outside at this age than there was at 20. I feel a little silly about it, now that the big day has past. I have so much good in my life, tearing up over a birthday is really childish. Well, at least I can still be childish, I guess.
We had a lot go on in our lives this year, but I am going to leave the mundane and not so mundane details out of my letter. What I will share, though, is our gratitude for our friends and family and what they bring to our lives. So many of you touched us so deeply this year and made our lives so joyful.
There have so many moments this year that were important and powerful. Not many fancy events like weddings or the birth of children. There were some solemn times, but those became something very memorable and healing because of the friends and family that were there through those times with us.
May sound silly but I have gotten to know some of my friends and family more through Facebook than I would ever have been able to one on one. Chris laughs at the whole Facebook thing and I doubt will ever join, but I enjoy it. I think it connects people in a way that we may not ever connect. Yes, some of it is silly but I think our lives are really about the people we share it with, and I believe my life is richer due to the things I have shared with others on Facebook that I may have not been able to ever share.
Sillier still may be my new affinity to the Martha Stewart channel in my Sirius radio. I listen to it pretty much whenever I am in the car. The week before Thanksgiving the morning crew had a segment about the economy and being thankful that really touched me so I wanted to share it. I had planned to share it at Thanksgiving but I wouldn’t have been able to keep it together to share it outloud, so here it is in the Christmas letter.
The show hosts had callers call in and talk about “things” that they had before, that they had to give up to make ends meet, and how that had been a blessing in their lives and actually made things better for them. “Things” they thought they couldn’t live without that they were better off without:
- No longer eating in restaurants so now they eat family dinners at home
- Letting their cleaning company go and rediscovering treasures because they actually look at things they are cleaning
- Not traveling to far off places and instead getting to know their own communities
- Lending a hand to those in need as a family and growing closer through it.
The show never really gets religious but it could have gone down that path with the calls that were coming in. It reminded me of a Psalm I studied once in high school youth group so I went back to find it. It was Psalm 131.
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
To be weaned is to have something removed from your life which you thought you couldn’t live without. In this Psalm David is saying, “I’ve come to the place where the things I thought I had to have, I don’t need anymore. Now my soul is quiet and content.”
It caused me to sit and make a list—a very personal, private list—of the things and people from which we have been weaned in the past year. Through some amount of suffering and hardship God has taken some things and people away from us in the last twelve months, but now our faith is stronger and deeper. And now our walk with God means more than it ever did before. I listed the things I thought I couldn’t live without but now I know I can.
As the song says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
The surprise is not just in the outward material blessings of the last year. It is also in the times of pain and suffering which seemed to be for no good purpose but turned out to be blessings in disguise. That, too, is the goodness and grace of God.
This Christmas we are grateful for the many blessings in our lives; all of you and those of whom are no longer here with us. May all of our lives continue to be blessed by the people we share things with, good and bad.
Father, this season let us be thankful not only for the things we have but also for the things we no longer have to have. Continue to bless the lives of our friends and family both now and forevermore. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone… we love you all.