22 December, 2012

My Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas!
(I celebrate Christmas, so by wishing you that, I am including you in my celebrations and joy. If you celebrate something else, hopefully my shared joy will extend to that as well.)
First...I am cutting myself off from facebook for a while, because people are all goobers. Which doesn't affect you, since my facebook is in my real name and you don't know it, BUT... it's an excellent time to follow me on Twitter right now, since I'm posting there instead. (@notklingonred, in case it's still not showing here.)
That said, since only one of you received my actual Christmas card with my annual letter in it, I am posting my letter here, as a letter, with love, to you all:

2012…far, far away…

Ho-ho-ho! Happy April Fools Day!
...no joke. I moved back to the Midwest this year.

(I hope that everyone on my Christmas list knows that I moved to Indiana to be nearer to my parents and siblings. If not, well, I did. …Also, you might want to friend me on facebook to stay on top of these things!)

When I have an address change, I try to get these out early, so that you will all know
where to find me, but I’ve not been inspired, so it didn’t happen.

Then, at work, we had our quarterly “pitch-in” – that’s Indiana lingo for “potluck” – with a Thanksgiving theme, and all our little post-its listing things we’re thankful for were full of appreciation of family or other close relationships. That’s very sweet, and very true, and of course, “The Right Answer”, but it kind of made me wish I’d written down something more hedonistic.
I’m thankful for my hot new car!
I’m thankful for books.
I’m thankful for stupid games I can download onto my phone, to bide my time in long lines.
I’ll be honest – I’m thankful for good wine!

But even trying to be hedonistic, the reality can't be denied:I AM thankful for my family and friends.
I AM thankful for their continued good health.
I am thankful for the new love in my life (even if it’s strange to mention in a Christmas letter).
I’m so thankful that I have the abilities to get out and walk the dog, mow the lawn, bake cookies.
I’m thankful that I live where I can worship God in freedom.
I’m thankful that I live in such a varied country that if I never leave these borders again, there are endless new marvels and mysteries to find that God has placed here for us to enjoy.

At this time of year, with all the chaos involved – the stress of “obligatory” shopping,
the mess of all the baking, the angst of unintended weight-gain, the sleeplessness of travel
– with the joyful chaos that stems from being humans in relationship to one another,
and the sadness that stems from being humans missing the company of one other,

… I cannot help but be thankful that God sent his Son for my sake.
I admit to being more awed by the empty tomb of Easter than by the star and stall of Christmas,
but the humility of the gift of Christmas is truly one to inspire gratitude.

Does this gratitude stay? Um…no, to be honest. Not if I don’t think about it. Frustration is my downfall.
But the good news is that the Good News IS! When I don’t think of it for a day, or when I forget the joy in the midst of a stressing, seasonal moment, I can always return to it.

And that is something to be truly thankful for. I pray that this season will find you with gratitude in your heart, in the midst of joys and sorrows, stress and peace.
That's it. Enjoy the remainder of the year, now that we've all survived the Mayan apocalypse!