because, Christmas.

My mom always sent out Christmas cards when I was little, it was a tradition.
I knew our little tradition was special from the first time I met it.
It immediately made me happy. It still does.
It always took mom a long time, over a week to get all the cards addressed.  Meanwhile, I kept watch of the mailbox for our mailman to make his way down our street.   

I loved finding and opening those cards.  Even though our yard was covered with the real stuff, my favorites were the ones with scenes of glittery snow.  We strung a piece of red yarn across one wall of our kitchen and hung the cards there, adding to it daily.

I have carried on my mom’s tradition of sending cards each Christmas.  I love picking the perfect card, writing notes, sealing the envelopes, feeling the stack in my hand as I go to the post office to mail them.  

While others have gone electronic, storing their addresses in the computer, I still use an old fashioned address book, the kind with the indented letter tabs that fit against each other like sleepy friends on a long road trip.  

I use my fingertips to gently awaken them one by one, the motion seeming to beckon each one to come toward me and bring whatever memory it carries.  Sometimes, they say little, others are more talkative, and some speak of a life I used to know, one that does not belong to me anymore.
  As I flip through my little book, I am amazed at the number of people in there I thought would be in my life forever, but now, are not.  I sit thinking, maybe this person is sitting at their desk, addressing Christmas cards.  Do they linger for just a second when they think about me?  Do they smile?  Frown? Have they scratched my name out?  Put me in an inactive file?  Deleted me completely?  Perhaps so.  Then why do I find it so hard to do the same?

A better question would be why I keep the addresses of those who are no longer here. My friends and my dear mother-in-law.  I touch their names gently, I would never even dream about crossing them out, even tho their addresses belong to others now.  and yet….
Perhaps it is that little tap of memory each card gives me that I still need.  Perhaps it is the tradition, that gives me a fuller sense of the scope of my life.  It is a way to keep them with me. It gives me a sense of warmth and also gives my life a vibrant, forward motion.  I trace my own life, as I add new names to the growing young families.  I add more cards as my life and relationships expand in ways I never thought it would.

It seems fitting that this holiday, this season of faith, devotion, and miracles, and glitter tossing comes to us just before the start of a new year.  

In the hustle and bustle of the season, I am grateful for the simple act of sitting down with a pen, a beautiful card, and a clean square of time in front of me.  

I am currently steeped in that lovely thing called Christmas. I am pinching the ends off Christmas tree branches for the smell of pine, falling asleep with all the Christmas lights on. I am sneaking cookies, and dreaming of sugar plums. I am remembering just how much I love the smell of scotch tape. because, scotch tape equals wrapped presents, and watching Dr Zhivago (tradition).

I am singing the carols I grew up singing, the ones that celebrate the birth of Jesus. the ones I used to sing so loud my parents begged me to stop, and I thought my face would crack from the happy. I am remembering my big part in the second grade Christmas pageant, where I was Alvin with my head stuck through a cardboard cutout with Simon and Theodore!

I am not suppressing the sadness. but I'm not swimming in it either. I am setting out his favorite decorations, baking her cookies, singing their songs. I am remembering just how special they made each Christmas, how much of a gift it was. I am doing everything I can to keep those parts of them alive. I am celebrating even when I feel like crying, because, Christmas.

because, Christmas.  


Popular Posts