Some people are rather sniffy about people who include bulletin letters with Christmas cards, giving details of their activities during the previous year, plus those of their children, grandchildren, children’s spouses/partners/friends and so forth. If they send them to people they see frequently, this seems rather a waste of time. But we unabashedly send them to a select few friends whom we don’t see often, friends who knew our children as they were growing up, and have always taken an interest in what they were doing.
One Christmas letter was comes without fail, and which we always reciprocate, is from a couple whom we met on holiday in 1970, whom we have not seen since, and with whom we have no contact during the year. Some people would say ‘this is a bit silly’. But it has meant that we have been able to witness, over nearly 40 years, lives developing, people growing, identities being nourished, careers being built and well-earned leisure being used creatively in retirement. I like to think that they may have been enriched in turn by what we have been able to share with them.
To decide to stop now would be to say ‘No’ to all that, to make a statement that all that sharing of life, growth, and experience is of no account, that from a certain point on, they will cease to be part of our world.
There’s enough negation of people’s personhood in the world at present, so I refuse to decry the practice of round robinning. It may seem ritualistic, but anything that sustains human community, fragile enough at the best of times, is worth defending.
So, if you are reading this, Happy Christmas, and good health, peace and blessing in 2010.