“To everything there is a season…”
Late November and early December herald the coming of not only our Savior, but that of designing, printing, and mailing the annual family Christmas card.
As the keeper of the family address list, it is my joyful duty to dive into the database of friends and family from all walks of life, past and present. After the list is arranged for printing labels, names of lifelong, hometown friends print out alongside work colleagues gained in recent years. Here come the names of parents of our children’s friends followed by names of work associates from days on Capitol Hill and downtown – all in their Helvetica font. Seeing these names brings a smile as I recall a funny shenanigan or a prayer for when they stood by us in stressful times.
Yet a bittersweet emotion occurs during this otherwise joyful time: deleting friends who have passed away during the year; or moving a dear friend from the “Married” list to the “Singles” list, following the heart-wrenching trauma of divorce.
This past year I had a “moment” of earthly finality when I came across the name of my mother’s lifelong childhood friend, Helen Rhea Testerman, a woman who had been a second mother to my brother, sister, and me and with whom I had shared many giggles. I knew her home like the back of my hand, so the deletion of her name and address sealed the finality of her death. It was— truly —an emotional moment of love and loss.
Yet, just like the changing of an address list, life is also fluid with its ups and downs. Through it all, the promise of Christmas, fulfilled at a radiant Easter sunrise, brings life full cycle and reminds us that the eternal and unconditional love of Christ exists for us all, whatever your address.
Alma Hale Paty
Appointed readings for today: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 102: 15-22, John 8:21-30