Christmas Card Blues

Christmas Card Blues December 18, 2017

Y’all, I had the best of intentions this year. Got family pictures taken in early November–the first time in about 5 years I didn’t just use a summer vacation pic, or stick my kids under the tree in their reindeer jammies at the very last minute. Ordered my cards the week after Thanksgiving, when everything was on sale. Got my address list together. And…

That box of cards and envelopes is sitting in my laundry room, on top of the dryer. Gathering lint. Not to be confused with LENT, which is probably when I will finally get those things in the mail.

Anyway. Since I’m clergy, I kind of get a pass with my friends and family. They’ve come to expect that they will probably get an Epiphany card from me sometime in early January. They love me anyway (mostly). But still, I thought this year would be different. What with one thing and another happening at church, I haven’t had to preach for the past THREE SUNDAYS. 3. It’s been lovely. And yet, the pace of church and kid life is the same, whether I’m the one up there with the mic or not. Plus I’ve been taking classes and just took an actual final exam, which I haven’t had to do in going on 20 years.

And so it came to pass that I have not had a moment to stuff and label and merry. Tomorrow for sure.

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Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the piles of cards that come to my mailbox everyday. They come from Kentucky, and Arizona, and all the other corners where my friends have built their lives. They come with pictures or no pictures, with letters or no letters, store bought and homemade, and I love them all. Each one is a reminder of someplace I’ve lived, worked, gone to school, or worshiped; each one a glimpse of our coming and going and the enduring connections that, thankfully, outlast our stay in any single phase of life.

That said– some of those cards come with family photos that look like a dang Ralph Lauren ad, and I remind myself–as we must all do with frequent social media use as well–that nobody’s life is as polished and perfect and together as it looks on a Christmas card. To that end, my friend Joy has written a snarkily wonderful song called “Christmas Card Blues,” and I thought you would enjoy the lyrics. It goes like this:

It’s December 8th, at least I think that’s the date

In the midst of the cheer and the fun

But my cookies have burned, and the weather has turned

Now my next test is close at hand

You see, my mailbox is full, and I’m feeling the pull

Of the holiday cards that await

I get the Christmas card blues just hearing the news

A mix of delight and charades

In those matching sweaters, your lives could not be better

My insecurity takes the stage

With your fancy advances and your dog in honors classes

I’m sinking right into a stew

I know your meals are all square, you all have perfect hair

Your days are all sunny, and everyone’s funny

Your kids master flashcards, architecture, Creole and chess

Each athletic feat will live on  

O Christmas cards, those Christmas cards

Why do I take it so hard?

Here we have dust balls and fur balls and athlete’s foot

We are cranky and tired with lousy attitudes

We love junk food and baked goods when we’re up to no good

I’d exaggerate and try to brag if I could

But I am cynical and too aware of our flaws

Especially on those who come with four paws

I’ve got the Christmas card blues just hearing the news

A mix of delight and charades

In those matching sweaters, your lives could not be better

My insecurity on parade

With your fancy advances and your dog in honors classes

I’m sinking right into my stew

               Glo…ri…..all those Christmas cards                   

Glo…ri…..all stuck in my craw

I’m not proud of my annual brawl

With perfection’s siren song

In truth our blessings run deep, far and wide

We have such a wonderful life

Please keep your cards coming, despite my shortcomings

My own cards soon will fly 

So be of good cheer, good tidings are here

Just don’t take it personally

Be of good cheer, good tidings are here

Just don’t take it personally

All those Christmas cards….**  

“Your fancy advances and your dog in honors classes…” Lol. I am so grateful to Joy for letting me share this with you. And I love how she segues the hilarity into a profound message about the mix of “delight and charades/my insecurity on parade.” That will preach.

So, Merry Christmas to all. You have my love and devotion, whether or not you ever receive a card from me. And may we all move through the joy of this season without the intrusion of “perfection’s siren call.”

Check out more of Joy’s music at joyzimmermanmusic.comAnd if you live in the KC area, you can hear her play at some of our favorite local venues as well!

**Copyright© 2017 Joy Zimmerman Music

 

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