I've been getting them and I love them.
But this year I am not sending them.
What I really love - besides the cards is the letters and the pictures. I spend quite a bit of time with the pictures looking people I love and seeing how they seem to be now. I love Christmas pictures.
This is my second year of not doing a Christmas letter and it just did not feel like something I wanted to do. But if I did this is what I would talk about.
The year beginning and ending with the deaths of some very special people. The year started with the passing of 32 year old Lisa from breast cancer. Her life touched mine (and many people's) and her dying did also. The year has ended with the death of 94 year old Paul who was truly a good and faithful servant of the Lord. I just returned from visiting with his widow and two daughters as we talked about his art, poetry, music and his faith. The service for him will be in April and I am sure it will be inspiring for all of us.
But of course that is hardly what this year has been for me. More life than death.
Life like finishing up the Wellstreams program and graduating in May. It has been a gift to me to have the time for reading and classes and spiritual direction. In the aftermath of the program I now meet with a professional peer group monthly of spiritual directors and that keeps me still in that world. I also team taught a short course on contemplative prayer and Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr which was really wonderful for me.
Life like watching Karl Road Christian Church become more diverse over the past year. We have had three great occasions this fall: our Acts of Faith concert, our "One World" Sunday and the Christmas family pageant this week which were exciting to me as I could see that we are really becoming a church family that welcomes and celebrates everybody - regardless of age, race, culture, sexual orientation. These services really gave ME life!
Life like the time I got to spend with Audrey - first at her church when she was installed in May, then going to General Assembly with her in July, Advance Conference with her in August and her coming to preach at Methesco in November. I was blessed to be with her as her proud mother but also as fellow ministers. What a gift.
Life like the wedding of Marnie and Erik this summer. I cannot overstate how much I appreciate Erik Schultz as a part of my family - he brings strength, humor and just plain goodness into our lives and the wedding day itself was just pure celebration. I love it all!
Life like watching my family grow up - seeing Shane get engaged! seeing Jackson on the soccer and football field! seeing Alyse and Reagan become more and more confident and even caring of their younger sisters! I could go on and on - but it all gives me life!
So, I probably should have put this and more into the Christmas letter I did not write. But what I see is that God is at work growing us all - throughout this life and then providing peace and promise when we leave to go to the next life with him.
I am, as always, grateful for my faith and my call to ministry. This is what gives my life purpose and meaning.