Sometimes it doesn't make sense: Our thoughts on a seasonal favorite
There was an article from a news publication earlier this week with a headline that read, “Here’s why you might see your mail carrier at 6 a.m.” The most probable cause for that headline is the massive amount of boxes that the USPS delivers during this time of year…but I’d like to think that the real reason is the massive number of Christmas cards that are delivered.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, the first two cards arrived for the season. Each day since our mailbox has been getting a few more cards. The best photos of the family experiences for the year are a joy to see.
Growing up, my family always sent out Christmas cards. Starting pretty early on, our Jungling family Christmas letter was written from the perspective of different family members each year.
Prior to social media, the Christmas letter provided a much-needed update of the events of the past year - highlighting trips, providing job updates, baby announcements, alongside sports & extracurricular accomplishments.
While fewer letters accompany the Christmas cards, we still treasure the experience of receiving them every year.
When Rachel and I first got married, we continued the practice we were raised with. We had fun writing our letters and taking pictures for our Christmas card. We were so excited to include a picture of our new house on our Christmas card in 2014. Mango made her first appearance in 2015. And all of our dreams came true with the Christmas card in 2018 - proudly sharing Christmas pictures of Anders and Linnea.
But we don’t send them out anymore.
If you’ve received a card from us in the past, we didn’t remove you from the list. We removed the list altogether.
Anders’s death changed that.
Rachel said it best in 2019:
We're skipping Christmas cards this year.
How would I sign them anyway? Without Anders looks wrong. How could I not include him? With Anders looks wrong. We're very aware he's not here with us. Elias is here now. It seems weird to not have one on his first Christmas. Then again since Anders only got one Christmas. I have a burning desire to take all kinds of pictures and post them because you never know how much time anyone gets here.
So while it hurts a little every time I write Ryne, Rachel, Linnea, & Elias. I am so so grateful for each comma I get to add. Husband, daughter, son, these are the greatest blessings in my life. Anders too has been such a blessing. Not writing his name reminds me that he is not here, but in the most glorious place of all.
People that have walked the path of grief after loss understand that sometimes a loss leads to a change that might not have made sense before. That's what our decision to not send out Christmas cards is - a change that wouldn't have made sense before. Some of you are walking a path similar to ours, grieving the loss of someone close to you, and you might send out Christmas cards.
But that's the thing with loss - we all have different things that affect us in different ways. Rachel and I were different people on January 13th, 2019 than we were on January 9th, 2019. We might not always choose to not send out Christmas cards, but at least for now, that's where we stand.
At the end of the day, Christmas cards aren’t the most important thing - the little baby that was laid in a dirty feeding trough is. “The deity in a diaper” as Dr. Tony Evans once referred to Jesus. God’s son, came down to earth and experienced the entire human condition. He left the comforts of heaven for the brokenness of a sinful world in order to offer himself as a sacrifice.
A little infant Jesus is a cute mental picture. But that baby was the most important person to walk the earth. He came with a single mission - to pay the price for the sins of mankind while completely living within God’s will.
When the angels appeared to the shepherd on that first Christmas night, they were told: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” - Luke 2:12
Swaddling cloths - the same cloth that newborn lambs were wrapped in after their birth. The Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world, was wrapped up like the lamb he was.
If we would’ve sent out a Christmas card and letter this year, that’s the message that we would want to share with you above any other. Christmas isn’t about the cards, it’s not about the presents, and it’s not even about the time we spend together as a family.
It’s about one Jesus - the Lamb of God, coming down from heaven, to serve as the sacrifice for my sin, your sin, and the sins of the world.
In this Christmas season, I hope that you have time to pause from the hustle and reflect on the deity in a diaper, King Jesus - the baby in a manger. He came down from heaven into this sinful world for you.
If you have questions or want to know more about the Savior - don’t hesitate to reach out. There’s nothing more important in my life than talking to others about how much He loves you.
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