When my husband and I were first married we lived far away from family and that first Christmas I still wanted to connect with all of our loved ones even though we couldn’t be together. So I decided to send out Christmas cards. Because Microsoft Outlook wasn’t available back then, I went out and purchased an inexpensive softcover address book and began adding names to my Christmas list.
Now almost 18 years later my address book is dog eared and worn, but every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas I bring it out and look at the names entered in it. Each entry in this book is of a real person who has a story and means something to our family. As I look at this book and reflect upon these individuals and families, I am reminded how quickly life can change. Many of the names entered on the pages are from the multiple states that our family has lived in and more still have multiple addresses penciled in and out underneath them as they themselves have moved. A few have new spouse names and even surnames crossed in and out, because life happens.
Some of the entries are from beloved friends and family members who have long since passed and to whom I can no longer trade cards with. I can never quite see my way to erasing or marking out these names. Instead I leave them in this book as a reminder of all those I have loved and who have returned that love to my family.
My Christmas card list has become something very special to me and allows me a few moments each year to remember all of these people and smile. Each name mattered enough to be entered into my book and years later they still matter.
One year my husband, after looking at the sad state of my address book, kindly asked if I would like a new one for Christmas. I politely declined. The process, edits, and handwritten notes are as valuable as the addresses themselves. Some of the memories simply wouldn’t transfer, and I would feel their loss.
For in truth, my Christmas list has become a way for me to cherish, remember and to renew my focus on what really matters. Because anyone who matters will gently remind you that the most important things in life are not things and can never be bought, wrapped or mailed.
So to all of my JENerally Informed readers far and wide this is my Christmas card to you: