A continuation of, “Return to Sender”
This years holiday letter became more complex than I expected. We are a family. We love each other. How hard can it be to write about how much we loved each other in 2015, right? The complexity arose because it is always me writing the letter. My husband and daughter proofread it and give their blessings before it is mailed. I couldn’t compose a family letter based on the truth of 1 Corinthians 13 from my experiences this year and the reality that my closest love is quite superficial.
“Love is not boastful or proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
A holiday letter is stereotypically boastful. We want to be optimistic with our good tidings of great joy, and we should. I may have snuck a little realism into our letters over the years and know I have gotten letters that tell tales of trials and tribulations. I appreciate reality. My writing style puts an optimistic spin on our personal adversities. There is a lesson in everything we experience. I’ve learned to appreciate small details orchestrated by an enormous God and could write about these blessings each day.
This year was far from typical. I took a moment to read last years holiday letter titled, “Humble”. I will paraphrase this letter in another post as the writing never made it to the blog. I am in awe of all that changed– for me, for my daughter– in just 12 months. It is said a day for God is like 1,000 to us. This is because He has infinite ability to multiply any situation. He certainly did! But for David, everything appears status quo. This is why I hit a roadblock to write with honesty. The family update would be jaded and appear boastful and self-centered. Our pastors Sunday message took the concern on my heart and brought it to the forefront of my mind. I could not ignore the message to make things right. I’ve been ignoring a lot that is outside my ability to control. But what is right under my nose is hard to ignore.
I’m not sure what the future of our Thanksgiving or holiday letter will become. I love the tradition of the holiday message but much has changed in the world. The letter was once sent to 200-250 loved ones along with a handmade card. I look at my connections on Facebook alone and find keeping in touch somewhat daunting. A few years ago, I announced the letter tradition would be coming to an end because I would be writing more than once a year. This is true and the blog is taking shape but needs to be refined. Somehow I am determined to keep in touch with loved ones but I’m bound to make it more personal than a photocopied letter at the close of each year.
I am challenging my husband to be more proactive at staying in touch with his acquaintances. As I was trying to whittle the list down to 100 names Saturday night, he missed the objective and wanted me to add names. Honestly, I’ve never met some of his friends but we’ve corresponded for 20-some years. I was trimming the names of my immediate family to add more acquaintences. I couldn’t do it.
Life goes by quickly and is going by at a more rapid pace as we get older. Signing our name to the bottom of a card is a nice gesture. However, this year has taught me that we are called to love one another—not just admiration from afar, but to be in relationship with one another. This past Sunday, I challenged my husband to be more biblical about truly loving me. This is when things quickly unraveled.
1 Corinthians 13 was read at our wedding but we haven’t lived it out.
The new year is going to hold more change for our family. I am returning to fulltime work, unsure of how it will balance with all that I am called to do. I’ll embrace my faith and hold on to what is everlasting. This is a challenge in our fast-paced world. The coming year, God has me focused on prayer. I’m certain He has some amazing enlightenment and I look forward to writing about it.
We have a student from Japan living with us for several months. Her curiosity for our culture is helping me think deeper about why we do what we do. I’ve been working to simplify life for several years and was afraid I was getting close to abandoning everything that is of this crazy world. Her family celebrates Christmas in Japan just as many do in the States– without the understanding of why we have traditions. Digging deeper is shaking down my cynicism to hold on to the meaningful things in life. With each passing day, these things are not things at all.
The message God has put on my heart for the coming year is prayer. I’m anxious to be more devout to prayer as I tend to speak casually with God to the point of irreverence. Things need to change.
2016 will reveal more to us. Verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 13 reads, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
I’ve never noticed this verse before but find so much assurance that He knows fully what is in store.
God is Good.
God is Love.
Subscribe to my blog to read the Love message on Christmas Eve day. Tomorrow I will publish my writing from last year, “Humble”… truly, it takes a humble heart to fully appreciate the gift of love that came down from heaven at Christmas. It helped this child of the 70’s finally understand this…