Thoughts on Christmas Cards When You're Deep in the Muck and Mire of Grief
In 2014 Kay Warren wrote an article for Christianity Today entitled Stop Sending Cheery Christmas Cards. The main sentiment that I got from the article is that it was painful for her to receive Christmas cards after the death of their son; that everyone should send plain cards to those who grieve instead of the cheery Christmas cards that you would usually send. I found this to be a very strong personal opinion. We have learned, the past 10 months, that people grieve differently. This article held true for her, but definitely not for us.
For us, Christmas brings us hope. Because of Christmas and the 33 years of Jesus' life that followed, ending in his death and the incredible grace we now receive because of this, we get to be with Mikail again one day! Isn't that amazing hope? Isn't it great to share that joy through sending cards and letters to the people that we love and care about?
We chose to send photo cards this year, but not the letter, we usually send. We felt that the photos on the cards we sent depict it all. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? We felt that it adequately depicted that we are finding joy as a family of three and miss being a family of four more than words can say. We felt we couldn't properly write a letter that shares the juxtaposition of the pain and the joy we feel simultaneously. It would either be seen as 'bragging' about how 'well' we are doing (whatever that means) or as 'woe is me' feeling everyone with pitty about our situation. Our grief is neither. It just 'is' and whatever it 'is', we are journeying through it as best as we can, as imperfect as that is.
Send us cheery Christmas cards with letters sharing about your year. Add a note if you want, or don't. We get it. Just as people grieve differently, people react to those who are grieving differently as well. Our family and friends are the village that surround us (a world wide village) and we live to hear from you. I've said it before, silence speaks louder than putting your foot in your mouth with what you think may be the wrong words. Sending a card at Christmas won't offend us. It won't bring Mikail back. It won't make the grief go away. It may put a smile on our faces and fill us with appreciation and love.
Yes, Christmas is difficult this year, but we are left with a promise:
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God's Sunrise will break in upon us,
shinging on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
then showing us the way,
one foot at a time down the path of peace.
Luke 1:78-79 The Message
I agree, everyone grieves differently, and Kay Warren's opinion is only one. Yes, Christmas is difficult for us this year, but as J often reminds me, every day is hard, but we make it through. So, this year in our house, the cards that arrive are proudly displayed, enjoyed, and appreciated.