December is here.  Open up the floodgates of SO MANY FEELINGS.  Family time, beautiful lights and decor, time to reflect on the season, finding that amazing gift that you know they are going to like…stress about how to fit it all in, decisions on whether to buy another screen/device/time sucker for your home, gross fruit-flavored chocolate oranges that my husband thinks I like (I think I have finally set him straight for this year with a photo of the Target aisle, oranges all at attention, with a huge, red, “No, No, No!” strewn across it, robotic animals that they REALLY want that freak you out…seriously, a Furby looks like a tie-dyed gremlin and an ewok procreated.  It’s just freaky. But I digress.

Last night I started putting together our countdown calendar to Christmas.  Each day there is something that we do as a family, or the kids eat, or get, or something.  Yes, it was November 30th when I started to put it together.  Don’t judge or I will not tell you that all of the papers with numbers are hanging on the wall, but there is nothing written inside about 6 of them because I have no idea what those days might bring.  It’s done, it’s on the wall, it counts – for now.  Much of it is normal December things like getting a tree, putting up stockings, having hot cocoa, decorating cookies, etc.  It’s more of a reminder/task list under the guise of a fun activity and it works.

12333230_10156222734930705_204368594_oThen, this morning, I started addressing Christmas cards.  I decided to buy the old-school ones in lieu of my normal photo card and to go back to a Christmas letter.  Nothing braggy (I even wrote it from the point of view of our dog), but just a little info on our family right now.  I also wanted to write a little note in each card that was personal to who I was sending it to.  As I went along, I found in almost every card, I wanted to write more than I could.  There were so many people who, as I sat there with my metallic forest green pen in hand, I was in awe of all they had been through in the past year, or how their lives had changed, kids had grown, accidents/diagnosis/treatments/moves/losses/births/praises/and on and on, had happened.  I was IN AWE.  One person hit me so hard that I had to put down my pen and open my computer and send her a message right away about how I had noticed her and all she had done and was going through and how amazing she is.  There was no getting around it.  It was too much for a family card and I just had to say it in that moment.

How many moments do we let slip by?  How many relationships do we have only via texting and Facebook?  Now, I should be in a 12-step program for Facebook so I am SO not judging you.  What I realized this morning is something that I need to keep reminding myself of.  I crave real relationships.  People matter so much.  I need them and sometimes I feel that I am falling through the cracks and losing the personal connections.  The old-school cards I picked to do, the silly letter, the personal words inside each card all affirm what I know.  I need people and as much as I try to form relationships, it is so hard right now.  It’s easier to send a text or Facebook message. I do it all the time.  But I crave personal relationship.

Relationships are about investing your time and your entire self into someone else. God calls us to it. At my church, our mission statement is, “Knowing Jesus, Being Jesus.” Get to know that little boy born in a manger so many years ago. Form a relationship with Him and learn who he was and is and what he did and is still doing.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that he designed you to be in relationship with him and with people around you.  This Christmas season, pick up the phone, write a card and mail it, or, better yet, go see someone’s face.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give, and receive.
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