I have been sending out Christmas letters for years. I come by it honestly. My parents sent them out too.
I can still see my father sitting at his old manual typewriter, typing out the family updates, wishing people well and encouraging them to write back.
We waited eagerly to hear back from friends and family. And we never “kept score.” Not receiving a card back was reason for concern and further checking to be sure everyone was alright. It was not a reason to eliminate them from next year’s list.
I found some of those precious letters from my parents. They tell the story of their lives. Joys, sorrows, hopes, dreams.
Our annual Christmas letters do likewise. I have collected all forty of them in a book and they are a treasure to me. They are truly The Story of Us.
Not only do they give the details of our lives, but they also show subtle changes, lessons learned and lessons shared with others.
Why do we still send Christmas letters? Why do we believe the recipients of our letters would even be interested in the details of our lives? Why would we even care about people who have not been a part of our lives for years?
Everyone who has ever touched our lives, whether briefly or longer, has helped to shape us in some way. They brought smiles, laughs and joy … or hard learned lessons that stung at the time, but ultimately bettered us. They nourished us or pruned us. Either way it was for our growth.
When we send our Christmas letters, we reach through time and across miles to say, “You still matter to us. You touched us and made a difference in our lives. We still think about you. We remember you with love and joy. We still want to share life with you. How are you doing on the journey?”
We like to think that even if we never hear back from those to whom we send letters, perhaps for a moment they think of us. Perhaps they think of how we affected their lives and how they affected us. Perhaps somehow we are connected again.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
“It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart …”