Christmas Cards are Liars

Kara Powell | Dec 16, 2014

Photo by Aaron Burden

The Powell family Christmas cards include a picture like this:

Cute family, right? Love them to death.

But here’s another picture our photographer took a few moments earlier. Truly, we weren’t trying to fool around in this picture. She just captured us in a very Powell moment.

Looking back, I should have put both these pictures on our Christmas card. Because both represent all of who we are. The full spectrum of the Powell family.

I cherish every Christmas card I receive. I open them, put them in a basket on my kitchen counter, and then re-read them a second time over Christmas break. I love seeing and reading about my friends’ and family’s years.

But let’s be honest: No Christmas card ever tells the full truth. It’s impossible to; there just isn’t space. Plus we inevitably filter out the less pleasant parts of our family, or our year, and showcase only the highlights. (Same thing with social media. We’re prone to share our highs and hide our lows.)

It’s too late for me to re-do my Christmas card. They’re already ordered and on their way to our house for our family to stuff, stamp, and label. But as each of us opens Christmas cards and sees our friends’ and family’s smiling faces, let’s remember that life has both grins and tears. And let’s celebrate that Jesus—the Emmanuel—is with us through it all.

Tweet: As each of us opens Christmas cards and sees our friends’ and family’s smiling faces, let’s remember that life has both grins and tears. And let’s celebrate that Jesus—the Emmanuel—is with us through it all.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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