They arrived yesterday. The Christmas card photos. Gorgeous families that I am blessed to call friends. There were no notes, just photos of smiles and Christmas scenery emitting feelings of joy and peace. I know these families. Some of these families are indeed celebrating the season with joy and peace. Their children are young and would make every day special. The twinkle in their eyes is sincere and they will indeed be awestruck come Christmas morning. The others, though, are not quite as fortunate. Some of them have been transparent with me this year and have allowed me to know that behind the superficial smile on their child’s face is a deeply troubled soul who causes havoc in the family. These kids have troubles. These parents have troubles. But, for an afternoon, they tried to get all the personalities represented in the photo to cooperate and to smile. I don’t know how much blood, sweat, and tears went into this photo shoot, but I do know that in the end, it was worth it.
The ones who are not dealing with mental illness will laugh at the antics their kids did while trying to get the perfect picture and the ones who are dealing with mental illness will cling to the photo that represents a tiny bit of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic home. I hope that the struggling parents will feel a sense of accomplishment in actually getting a photo that can be sent out to others and I hope the “typical” parents can treasure and appreciate the gift of happy children.
I thank them all for sending the cards to me. I will display them all season and I will pray for them. I will pray that the holidays do bring them joy and peace. I will pray the same for my family….with or without a gorgeous Christmas Card photo shoot.