We really do enjoy getting those holiday letters some people complain about at Christmas. Having moved around as many times as we have, we have friends scattered in several places, and, as good as our intentions are, we don't do a good job of staying in touch. Those Christmas letters give us a chance to see kids grow, lives change, and all kinds of other things. Like most people, we usually read through them, stash them with the rest of the Christmas cards and intend to do better about staying in touch. Then it's time for another Christmas, and we read about people about whom we really did intend to do better.
This year's Christmas letters brought something unexpected. I got mentioned in two of them! One young friend of mine felt the need to remind people that he was a Duke basketball fan (as though we could ever forget that about him), and included me and another die-hard Kentucky fan as people who wouldn't be happy to hear that. (I gave up on converting him to the true faith long ago!) The other mention was from my friend who is serving as supply pastor at the congregation I left behind in Huntsville earlier this year. Most of what she had to say about me had to do with how much extra work I had caused for her.
I never thought much about actually being in someone's Christmas letter. These two references felt pretty good, though. Our first Florida holiday has been a wonderful experience, but it's different being this far away from many of the things and people who have been part of our celebrations before. Of course we've shared this year's celebration in our new home and community with all kinds of friends we didn't know before. Still, it's kind of nice to know we've left parts of ourselves among other friends in other places (Even if one of them is a Duke fan!)
I hope you can find some quiet, reflective time in these last few days before Christmas. And I hope you can think about the parts of yourselves you've left with other people in other places. Even if you didn't make someone's Christmas letter this year, I'll bet someone somewhere is thankful for you. And I'm sure you're thankful for the presence of lots of people in your life, too. I hope you all find a way to let each other know. You might just make someone's day. My friends surely made mine! Merry Christmas.
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