Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Moments

By Suanne Camfield

Although today is December 26, one day after Christmas has officially ended, if your family is anything like mine, Christmas is anything but over. In fact, as you read this I’ll be traveling eight hours by car, giddy with anticipation for another family gathering filled with eager children, mounds of presents and cookies galore.

And if your mailbox is anything like mine, it’s still welcoming Christmas cards, stragglers written by people who care just as much but couldn’t quite pull off all the addressing and licking and stamping before the post office officially closed its holiday doors.

I didn’t want 2011 to end without sending my own Christmas greetings to you, our beloved FullFill readers. My hope is that you will welcome this letter like the stragglers in your mailbox, from a friend who wants to wish you a Merry Christmas before THE DAY, but didn’t quite make the cutoff.

Every year I start my Christmas letter the same way – by telling the people I send it to that I wasn’t going to write one. I usually make the decision sometime in November, determined not to add one more thing to an already busy season, then exhort myself to stand firm: YOU.WILL.NOT.WAVER.

But, then –every year—something happens. A moment subtly and unexpectedly comes to life and wraps its tiny hands around my heart. And I find myself, once again, tapping away.

This year, I was clearing some Christmas cards out from last year’s card holder, making room for the new ones that had begun piling up on my kitchen counter when I came across a cute little card with a puppy wearing a Santa hat. Not remembering who sent it, I opened the card and smiled when I saw my grandma’s familiar signature. She passed away in January at 93. It was the last card I’d ever receive from her.

Card in hand, I paused for a moment, thinking how her penmanship reminded me of my mom’s, and then tucked the card back in with the others. It didn’t technically belong there, but throwing it away didn’t seem possible. It was, like so many moments we experience in any given year, one that presented a choice: simply toss it aside in a rush to get to the next thing, or let it linger and fill me and move me in a way that compels me to stop. And listen. And reflect.

That’s when I knew I’d be writing yet another Christmas letter.

In many ways, my year year could be categorized as an accumulation of blurred and rushed moments. It was the first full year my family experienced “mom” back at work (after eight years as a stay-at-home mom) while my husband continued to expand his role at the church where he works, while my two elementary age kids were just busy being kids. The four of us worked hard to incorporate things like rest and boundaries, but we couldn’t seem to dodge the season of life we found ourselves in – we’re just plain busy.

Which is why I love the Christmas moments. The ones that make us pause in the midst of the hard and breathless and chaotic and remember that life is full of moments that are rich and good and overflowing with love and laughter and grace. Moments worth pausing for—card in hand—and sopping up and soaking in. Because of that, we’re reminded to grab as many as we can, choosing to value relationships more than schedules, time more than money, neighbors more than ourselves and a Jesus worth pursuing more than any of the rest.

It’s been a privilege to travel through 2011 with you. Thank you for letting us invade your inboxes every Monday morning. My prayer for each of you as we close this year and look forward to the next is that you’ll intentionally pause—even as you live out your influence—long enough to grab a hold of your own moments and tuck them away for another year to come.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on behalf of your friends at FullFill!

Suanne Camfield is the Blog Manager for FullFill and a freelance writer. She works at InterVarsity Press and is a founding member of the Redbud Writer’s Guild.


  1. Suanne, I hope your family had a blessed Christmas. You're in a busy season of life, but I'm sure you realize it's a fun season as well.

    Thank you for all the hard work at FullFill. It's a blessing to many of us and I look forward to the Monday invasions! They encourage me to focus on what's important and choose the best over the good.

    Blessings to you in the new year!!

  2. I thank you so very much for this! It's like having a friend visiting my home and just letting her into my world! I am one who didn't get all her cards or pictures out much less letters. I don't want to give up. My dad died in July and it has been hard on me & Christmas Eve seemed very difficult as my parents are both gone now. Just thank you for being a gift from God to those who get to read Full Fill. God uses you!

  3. Thank you both for your encouraging words. I am SO glad that you are enjoying your Weekly ReFills! (Anonymous, I'm so sorry for your loss and pray God will comfort you during the hard times). Thanks for your continued support and blessings to you both in 2012!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging Fulfill devotionals. I'm a single 75 year-old-missionary from the USA struggling to generate income for my 600 students in 3 schools in India & for an M.K. school in Korea that I co-founded with a retired Korean missionary. We have been asked by a publisher to write 50 ESL stories for preschool children. I wonder if any in your writers' guild would like to help gratis? You can write for more info: Here's a sample: How old are you?

    How old are you, Noor?
    (picture of 4 year old girl)
    I’m four.
    I like to play on the floor.

    How old are you, Clive?
    (five year old boy driving a truck)
    I’m five.
    I like to drive.

    How old are you, Ken?
    (ten year old boy dreaming of playing soccer with men)
    I’m ten.
    Soon I’ll play with men.

    How old are you, Daddy?
    (Dad hugs his son)
    I’m thirty-one.
    I love my son.

    How old are you, Jake?
    (old man bent over with a cane
    with child in front of closed gate )
    I’m ninety-eight.
    Please open the gate.

    How old are you, Bold?
    (old hairless dog shivering in the cold)
    I’m twenty years old.
    I don’t like the cold.