Every year I write a Christmas letter. It’s becoming a tradition. A tradition I enjoy. It’s fun to write and reflect on the past year of our life and on the celebration of Jesus’ birth. It’s something I’d like to continue to do, so when our kids are 30 and have families of their own I can look back and see our life and thoughts in Christmas letters. Maybe one day I’ll even make a scrapbook of them.
But this year, my task is being threatened. I don’t know what to write. (So I figured I’d write about not knowing what to write…makes sense, right?)
A few days ago, I excitedly opened a little brown box containing 50 glossy 5×7 Christmas cards. I was quite proud of my little card. There are twelve photos on it; one for each month. It’s our year in pictures and it’s pretty neat.
That night, with Christmas carols playing in the background, I sat on the floor to stuff, stamp, and address my little Christmas card.
As I was stamping my Christmas cards and wondering about the proper etiquette of placing stamps, I got nostalgic. Not for a time I ever knew, but for a time when people knew the proper placement of a stamp on an envelope. For a time when Christmas cards were special and nearly all correspondence was written in ink. Before inboxes and even mailboxes. A time when hand delivered messages were second only to a “call” from your neighbor.
When photos were called photographs and they were treasured and few. A time when communication was delayed, difficult, and cherished.
So unlike the days we live in. Now, I can upload 50 photos of our recent adventures to Facebook, while chatting with my sister online. Correspondence is cheap and photos are in abundance.
It isn’t any wonder then that I am having a hard time writing a Christmas letter. A second glance at my cute little Christmas card and I realize that everyone has already seen all these photos…on Facebook. And if they’ve seen our photos then they know what’s happening in our lives. So why, then, am I sending out a Christmas card?
For this very reason I assume that in the not so distant future, despite all the clever marketing campaigns and promotions, Christmas cards will become obsolete. Instead, people will insert their Christmas greeting into their Facebook status. The thought only serves to strengthen my resolve to write a letter and keep the tradition alive. I don’t want a Facebook Christmas!
But Christmas, I now remember, isn’t about tradition. It isn’t about us or our pictures or our updates or my refelctions. It isn’t about letters or stamps or Christmas cards. And it doesn’t really matter when, where, or how it is celebrated or remembered. Whether in chat rooms or in parlors, Christmas is about Christ.
With that in mind, I will attempt to write a letter. Maybe it will be a short one this year.