Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas letters

Oh so cold here! Twelve below zero this morning and perfectly bright and sunny in aspect as it gets to be when air pressure is high and all of the Arctic is visiting us.

It’s wonderful reason to be warm inside getting at Christmas letters. The seasonal wishes will be traveling over new laid snow. Upwards of eight inches fell earlier this week, blanketing everything in white.

As the addresses go on the envelopes, the sheet of stamps beside the festive cards marking our mail for postal delivery, the thought that comes is of the friends with whom we mark another year.

Christmas correspondence affirms gratitude for relationships that can make every day feel like a holiday.

It expresses the hope within us for peace, health and happiness. These hopes are universal – they don’t need passports or have certain boundaries imposed on them. This is the time, this end season of the year, to reboot good wishes for our belabored and imperfect but marvelously amazing world.

As I mentally sum up the year to make a Christmas letter not too lengthy and not too lacking I count back through the months. The year 2013 has had ups and downs accompanied by the personal growth that perhaps we were intended for through the hard stuff and the fun events.

The challenges that a year doles out require all of us to dig deep to find reservoirs of courage or perseverance. Successes when they come lift us. They’re the easy things we pick out from the sequence of days. But the ordinary moments give a balance and identity that may be the most important part of us that we share.

One year is life stretching us. It’s like a coach or personal trainer. Its aim, as it appears to me, is to keep us flexed, poised and ready for more.

The Christmas cards being readied for mailing tell me that friends and family are vital ties of human connection. These ones companion us through a year and sometimes through a lifetime. They hear our stories. They share in our joys. With understanding wisdom they place us in our hearts when situations are tough.  

Every day has its routines and often its surprises. Time has deviations of pattern sometimes planned and occasionally coming out of nowhere.

We’re grateful for the rhythm of our days together at this time in our lives. There’s a natural desire to share something of this with others.

Christmas cards help in this. Writing our letters, signing our names to the holly-decorated cards, and stamping the envelopes with the special holiday stamps give us a ritual to make the most of.

If we let it, we can pause and refresh ourselves in the midst of seasonal busyness. By these cards and greetings we invite in and reiterate our allegiance to those in our lives in meaningful ways.

Words can and do make a difference. The amount of mail generated at this season speaks volumes to the value of the personal touch as only each of us can deliver it.

Ro Giencke

December 6, 2013

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