The Curse of the Christmas Letter

December 12

The holiday season that we’ve now entered is a busy time of year with parties, performances, gift buying, church activities, and the list goes on. However, in our household there is one duty that is regarded as truly painful: writing the Christmas letter.

Back in the late 1980s, Christmas letters were all the rage. They were a nice way to fill friends and distant loved ones in on the past year of your family’s life. Since that time, they’ve become the butt of jokes and have sometimes morphed into tiresome screeds that rival War and Peace.

That first year of our marriage we did a Christmas letter with lots of gusto. We now “flip” to see who has to write the thing. When it all started, everything was new and exciting. At this point in our lives there are lots of phrases such as “is still working for…”, “is still in school at…”, “continues to love doing…”. They’ve become a little tedious sometimes.

All that aside, our family still does Christmas letters. Why? Because they tell a story. Do you remember the major events that took place in your life in 1990 or even more recently in perhaps 2007? I don’t either.

We’ve saved every Christmas letter over the past 32 years of our marriage. They tell the story of newlyweds, first jobs, health issues, the birth of our children, family struggles and triumphs, dearly loved pets gained and lost, living around the country, visiting far-flung places, highs and lows of extended family members, and so on.

Going through the letters with our children has always provided a wonderful snapshot of our lives and insights into how all of us have grown into the people we are today. However, if I’d have to choose one theme across all these letters it would be grace.

God’s grace and provision for our family is evident in every letter. Nothing we’ve done, right or wrong, has negated the grace of our Lord over more than three decades. So you see, there really is no “curse of the Christmas letter” for our family, outside of having to write another one this year, and I think we’ll survive that.

Others are not so lucky. If they were to write a Christmas letter, the sentences might start out like this. “I felt alone and afraid and did the only thing I knew to escape – I had an abortion. I’m so ashamed.” “This year I lost my business because I stood up for what’s right – my faith.” “It was another year of my daughter being taught how feeling she was a boy was perfectly natural for someone in elementary school, how she needed to be affirmed, and how hormonal drugs and counseling could help.“ Those would be the real curses of a Christmas letter.

I don’t ever want those letters written, and I’m sure you don’t either. Your donation will help us prevent these stories from ever happening. Further, right now we have $15,000 in commitments that will match your donation dollar-for-dollar if you donate before the end of this year.

Please take advantage of this opportunity and help us make sure the true “curse of the Christmas letter” never really happens. It may be a chore to pen that Christmas letter each year, but it is a story of love and hope. Let’s make sure everyone will be able to tell that same story.


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director