My Christmas wish for you...

You know those newsy letters tucked into a card, a collection of headlines about a family's adventures since the last holiday season, often accompanied by a photo or two? 

I assume we all get them. Likely, some of us also send them. I have mixed feelings about them. Even though they contain interesting information from people I care about, they can seem glib and artificial. I always dread the work involved in co-writing ours. My wife and I have very different styles. (Perhaps I should say, she has style while I have volume.) To say nothing about chores like selecting cars, picking photos, updating address lists, printing labels, writing and signing brief notes, buying special Christmas stamps, updating the sent/received lists, licking envelopes.....

But there are rewards, and I am moved to share.

This week I received the annual letter and photos from my 'sister' in the family with whom I lived in Freiburg (Germany) during the Fall of my junior year. We became very close and struggled with both the fear that we would and would not remain part of each other's lives. It is impossible to describe the feelings her letters create in me. The bond we forged in 1967 is unbroken despite distance, time and our very varied life courses. Reading her letter every year is rather like being sucked through a wormhole into a different place and time. Everything else stops and we remember that we are connected. 

My individual response (in German, of course) is immediately written, enclosed with our one-size-fits-all newsy family letter in a card with a couple photos, and then taken to the post office to start its journey. I no longer doubt that the magic will endure.

It is my fond wish that everyone has people in their lives who are as meaningful as this, for whom they will stop everything and anything to listen and share.


Merry Christmas and a safe and fulfilling New Year (und weiterhin) to all of you.



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