Our first family Christmas card was sent with a 13¢ stamp back in 1977. Sonja was shy of two years and Mikos was four. I remember that we drove to Fashion Island and asked a stranger to take our picture with a actual camera. The person took two pictures and we had to take the roll of film to get it developed; there was no instant gratification, so however the picture turned out, that was the one we would use.
The Christmas card tradition continues and since our families have grown, it has become more complicated. Not everyone is excited for the annual group picture, and most of the time someone is in a bad mood, but it’s never me.
When our grandkids were younger it took a great deal of patience for me not to lose it and start screaming, but if it were not through the grace of God I managed to hold my tongue for the sake of the picture. One year Will refused to open his eyes. In every picture he intentionally closed his eyes. Finally Jenny (mom) gave him a stern warning but Will did not budge. It took a ridiculous bribe to make Will finally open his eyes.
Our daughter Sonja insists on dressing her boys like twins, but they are not, and poor Russ, if Sonja can find a big enough shirt then the family becomes triplets. Not too many Christmases ago Sonja had the boys dressed in these really cute monster shirts. I could not take my eyes off the adorable non- threatening faces of the monsters and thought that everyone that received my Christmas greeting that year would refer to it as the monster shirt card. The same year Maddie used this as a personal modeling photo shoot, having posed for very many pictures while her brother photo-bombed her frame. Our neighbor Marisa was the photographer and she played into Maddie’s many poses.
The Christmas card picture that is chosen every year is always the one that I look the best in; all women do the same.
Once the pictures are complete comes the mailing. You would think that after so many years I could get the addresses together but something always goes wrong. I am at the mercy of Sonja to get my labels together, as the I more attempt, the bigger the mess. I am not really sure what happened this year, but some of you will receive cards with only first names, so I convey my sincere apologies.
We are in the third week of Advent. As Catholics we start the liturgical new year with Christmas, not in January. The word Advent is derived from the Latin word Adventus, which means coming. There are four candles on the Advent wreath, and this week the pink candle is lit, representing joy, and the happiness we will experience with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The four Sundays of Advent represent the 4,000 years of Israel’s Biblical history prior to the coming of Christ. Advent is a season of preparation, by fasting and praying for purification, so the priests wear purple for royalty and penance. Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel!
Sunday’s Advent reading is, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the people; but the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will be see upon you. And all nations shall come to your light, and kings of the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3