My Christmas Card to You.
Everything has been busy. The Fall has been so gorgeous, and the colors have seemed to hang on a little longer than usual. One day when I had a chance to catch my breath, I thought, it's been a couple of years since we have had a nice family photo. I texted my photographer friend to start setting it up. But as I looked at my calendar, I realized that by the time everyone in our family would be in the same place at the same time, it will probably be snowy. Which may be fine...but I don't think we will get it done before Christmas.
This is the most recent photo I have of all of us together. It's blurry. We dragged everyone out of bed for a beautiful October hike. We are wearing sweats. No matching outfits. No curled hair. But it was a good day.
Christmas for our family has always been wild. Joe is on the road from Thanksgiving till Christmas Eve, and I also have shows. (Come to The Lower Lights, or my Christmas show in Sandy! Links are on my show page!) We have never sent a Christmas card. But I love to recieve them. We still have people who have not crossed us off their lists in spite of us not sending cards in return.
Christmas cards can SOMETIMES be stressful. Sometimes they mirror the feeling you get when you are on Instagram and everyone's lives look more colorful and perfect than yours. We are conditioned to show each other the things we are the most proud of. Why wouldn't we? It's human nature.
If I were to send a Christmas card, I bet I'd tell you about the good grades my kids have been getting. Or the awards they won for their writing. Or their Shakespeare acting chops. Or their vocal skills. Or their college plans. Or I might tell you about the fun trip that Joe and I went on to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago. I'm proud of all of those things!
I might not have told you about the harder days. Sorting out friend problems. Doctor visits. Times we got mad at each other for a minute. Days we felt distant. The fact that in our family we haven't been strangers to therapists, both physical and mental. On the reverse side of our gorgeous card where we would all be wearing color coordinated velvet dresses and sweater vests, I may not have told you about the grief that still comes in waves when I think of the loss of my sister. I wouldn't tell you about the other funerals we went to. The dents in cars. The jobs that didn't come through. It would be weird if I told you about all of that stuff in a Christmas card. TMI, man.
Does that mean that in real life my life isn't gorgeous, colorful, and wonderful? Not a bit.
I have often mused to myself about the concept of leaves bursting into their most beautiful colors when they are under stress. They are cold and dry and ready to let go. They fly around everywhere and blow in the wind. It's dramatic and messy, and I love it to bits.
The good times in life go on right alongside the hard times. Life is messy and dramatic and beautiful. When you read your friends' Christmas cards, be excited for them about all the beautiful things they tell you. But if you run into them at the store, look them in the eyes and remember they're just like you. Give them a meaningful hug if they're the type who likes those. They might really need it that day. We are all going through our own windy, leafy storms in life. We should love each other for the messy, beautiful people we all are, making the most of a wild life.
That's what Jesus would do. And Christmas is about Jesus.
Happy Holidays from my messy, beautiful life to yours.