For several years I wrote an annual family Christmas letter to highlight notable events & life changes. After the first year of doing so, it became harder & harder to keep up with. Unfortunately, I’m not good at planning ahead & always struggled to get a Christmas photo done, especially when time with my step-son was limited to every other weekend. But I kept trying.
I kept trying because I felt obligated. I figured I had to do it. Once you start, can you really stop?
I had it all figured in my mind; y’all were expecting it. Right? Or not. I thought you might be miffed if you sent me a card & I didn’t send one in return.
Surely, I needed to rise to self-imposed standards for Christmas making.
I was wrong.
Sometimes it takes a lot to get into this thick skull of mine, but it’s starting to sink in and take hold. I love the idea of Christmas cards & I love the thoughts of people reaching out to each other at least this one time a year anyway. But somehow, it all lost its luster. I couldn’t keep up & other things filled my time & priorities.
Not writing a Christmas letter & not mailing it, after Christmas as usual, means what? Is it the reason we stopped receiving Christmas cards ourselves? Or is that simply a result of others doing the same thing? I wonder.
How many cards are given & received each year with simply a signature on preprinted sentiments? Something seems missing.
How many relationships grow more & more distant over the years & then the cards stop coming altogether? Something must be missing.
How many times do we do out of obligation? Something is definitely missing.
Let me summarize my year for you with this; God is God and He is good, no matter what. In this I’m learning to find rest. Not doing out of obligations, but doing out of awe, love & as a response to His amazing grace.
His grace & His words are ever present & ever available. They never come late either.
With Him, nothing is missing.
I still love Christmas cards & I love connecting with others through written words mailed from one place to another.
I love even more the fullness that comes through this finding rest in Him. I’d like to say that we remembered Christ this Christmas by reading about His birth on Christmas Day, or that we made a birthday cake for baby Jesus. But we didn’t.
What I can say is that I am thankful to be relieved of the burden to do so out of obligation. When I start to wish we’d remembered Him more through our actions, I am reminded that I haven’t forgotten because one day didn’t include one action. My heart remains in awe & wonder more than ever. My need remains more apparent than ever.
Those Christmas Cards we haven’t been sending out? We haven’t forgotten our family & friends. We still love them & we will still do what we can to remain connected to many whom we have been blessed to share life with.
We don’t need to fill our days with all the things. What we really need is Him. Sometimes that looks busy, and sometimes not.
Some days we remember to show our hearts focused on Him in our deeds, some days we forget He is even speaking to us.
In all the days, He has not forgotten. His presence remains & His Spirit speaks to my heart. “Stay near. I am here.”
As I’m still recovering from extreme stress & trauma I find it hard to stay busy for long. So I don’t. I’ll do what I need to do, but beyond that, I just can’t & won’t anymore. It’s hard to admit it but I’ve reached a point where I simply can’t do certain things without reaping significant effects personally & inter-relationally.
And then Christmas is here & the American way is busy, busy, busy.
And then Christ is here and His way is intentionally restful in everything we do & don’t do.
He is mighty. He is glorious. With Him nothing compares.
In Him nothing is ever missing.
with love, Jolene