Below is my Christmas letter for 2011. I’ve found it impossible to send cards to everyone I’d like to send to this year and so decided to post it here for those who I just couldn’t get to (you’re no less loved, I promise!). Also to the occasional passers-by of this blog, I wish you the very merriest of Christmases!
Every year I start my Christmas letter the same way – by telling you I wasn’t going to write one. I usually make the decision sometime in November, determined not to add one more thing to an already busy season, then exhort myself to stand firm: YOU.WILL.NOT.WAVER.
But, then — every year– something happens. A moment, subtly and unexpectedly comes to life and wraps its tiny hands around my heart. And I find myself here, once again, tapping away.
I was clearing some Christmas cards out from last year’s card holder, making room for the new ones that had begun piling up on my kitchen counter when I came across a cute little card with a puppy wearing a Santa hat. Not remembering who sent it, I opened the card and smiled when I saw my grandma’s familiar signature. She passed away in January at 93. It was the last card I’d ever receive from her.
Card in hand, I paused for a moment, thinking how her penmanship reminded me of my mom’s, and then tucked the card back in with the others. It didn’t technically belong there, but throwing it away didn’t seem possible. It was, like so many moments we experience in any given year, one that presented me with a choice: simply rush by it, nonchalantly tossing it aside, or, instead, let it linger and fill me and move me in a way that compels me to stop. And listen. And reflect.
That’s when I knew I’d be writing this letter.
In many ways, our year could be categorized as an accumulation of blurred and rushed moments. Our first full year with “mom” back to work (at InterVarsity Press, a Christian publishing house) while she continues to sneak writing articles and blog posts into the nooks and crannies of her days, while “dad” expands his role at Christ Church of Oak Brook (and get his second graduate degree while picking away at his guitar) has been good, but has left us scrambling to find a new rhythm of life. Sadie turns 10 in less than a week, the combination of quick wit, responsibility, and pure grit that has become so “Sadie” leaves us continually impressed, questioning if she didn’t somehow skip a few years along the way. Clay is creeping up on 9, his athletic bent and sweet imagination never failing to fill his mama’s heart (he has single-handedly played and won both the World Series and the Super Bowl in the confines of our backyard).
The four of us have worked hard to incorporate things like rest, boundaries and balance, but we can’t seem to dodge the season of life we find ourselves in – we’re just plain busy.
Which is why I love the Christmas moments. The ones that make us pause in the midst the hard and breathless and chaotic and remember that life is full of moments that are rich and meaningful and overflowing with love and laughter and grace. Moments worth pursuing–card in hand–and sopping up and soaking in.
And so the Camfields of 2011 are learning, regardless of the season, to grab as many moments as we can; choosing to value relationships more than schedules, time more than money, neighbors more than ourselves and a Jesus worth pursuing more than any of the rest.
This Christmas I pray that your family stops long enough to grab a hold of your own moments . . . and tucks them away for another year to come.