My generation has not kept with the tradition of writing an annual Christmas letter, maybe because with text messages, Facebook, email, and other social media, we keep each other updated on day-to-day life in real time. While I think staying in regular contact with friends and family is a great thing, I also sometimes hear complaints that there’s just too much frivolous information being shared.
In contrast, I think there’s value in the exercise of summarizing the year’s high and low points into a succinct and cheerful letter. It offers a chance to prioritize life’s events, and express them as affirmations of gratitude and achievement. Day-to-day life looks less important, and many crises and losses suffered throughout the year are put into perspective when juxtaposed with all there is to be grateful for.
Director’s Christmas Letter
We have had a lot happen in 2016, and I’ve been reflecting on my own personal highlights. Some of them are probably obvious to you all, but some of them might surprise you:
The Staff: This should come as no surprise. This year we had some turnover of key positions, and while those departures were painful, I came away with a new respect and admiration for our staff. They worked hard to make sure the transitions were as trouble-free as possible, and I have been very pleased to see people applying their talents to new roles and responsibilities.
The Grounds Committee: I don’t know if the Grounds Committee knows how much I appreciate their work, but I hope they feel encouraged to keep it up! We have a beautiful campus, but it requires vision, planning, and hard work to keep it that way. The Grounds Committee is the vision and energy behind most of this work.
The Welcome Committee: I’ve seen more energy invested in the welcoming of newcomers this year than I’ve seen in years past. Moving to a new community is a big task in itself, but adjusting to a new set of social norms and a new pace of life can be downright alienating without the help and encouragement of existing residents. Friendships are the foundations of fun, trust, creativity, self-expression, and support in our community, and their effect is transformational.
And those are just a few examples. I could go on and on, but I think nothing shows the strength of a community more than the investment its members – residents and staff – make into it for the benefit of others. These strengths will push us forward into 2017, where new and exciting projects await. Before we get to that, let’s take some time together in fellowship to enjoy the warmth, peace, and love of the Christmas season.