For the past several years, Georgette and I have done what a lot of families do during the Christmas season — mail a Christmas newsletter and a picture of our family to our relatives and friends. When we started mailing the newsletter, it was less than a page long, but over the years, as our family grew with marriages and grandchildren, the newsletter eventually expanded to four pages of text (two pages, front and back).
A few years ago, Georgette and I decided that we were going to discontinue the newsletter. While we had received compliments over the years from various individuals, we felt that four pages were excessive and that it was unreasonable to expect people with busy lives to sit down and read a four-page newsletter about our family.
We announced to our children that we were going to discontinue the Christmas newsletter. Our youngest daughter Teresa refused to accept our decision and told us that if we weren’t going to write the newsletter, she was going to do it on her own. She then proceeded to do exactly what she threatened she would do. She wrote a four-page newsletter. We didn’t want to offend her, especially after she had taken the time to write it, so we mailed the newsletter with our family picture.
Every year since then, Georgette and I have told Teresa that a newsletter was not necessary, but she has consistently insisted that she be allowed to carry on the tradition. This year, I actually thought that Teresa would finally relent and give up on her quest to continue writing the newsletter. Why? Because at the ripe young age of 22, she works the equivalent of two full-time jobs. Her first job is with a local company as a web designer, photographer, and graphic designer. Her second “job” is her own wedding photography business (photographsbyteresa.com).
I was wrong about Teresa being too busy to write the newsletter. As usual, she refused to take no for an answer and wrote the newsletter. Here’s how she began the newsletter:
I received a text message last week. It was from my dad. This is what his message said:
Dad: Teresa, because we’re all so busy, I think the best thing to do for Christmas this year is to just send a family picture and not a newsletter. When can you block out the time to edit the family picture that was recently taken?
Me: I’m planning on working on it this weekend.
Dad: I hereby relieve you of the obligation to write the newsletter. We’ll just send a picture.
Let’s just say Dad knows me well and knows I don’t like being told that I can’t do something. He knows that I automatically accept a command not to do something as a challenge, but I have no clue where I get that from.
So, HELLO! It’s Teresa here, Harry and Georgette’s youngest and seventh-born coming to you live from my living room. If I’m being honest, it feels like this is the first time all year I’ve sat down. I’ve been everywhere but home this year, and wow what a whirlwind 2018 has been for all of us.
With a constantly growing and changing family, I honestly cannot keep up with everything we’ve been up to this year. So give me a few minutes while I count how many of us there are. I think that’s a good place to start. I’m going to do my best to update you on our year and all the blessings God bestowed upon each of us during the past 12 months.
After two and a half pages of reporting on each of our children and grandchildren, Teresa closed with some of her own thoughts and reflections. I thought you would enjoy seeing what she wrote, so I’ve included her closing comments below.
So there we are. We’re up to a total of 31 people in our family, which includes my parents’ 16 grandchildren and the little princess who is on the way. With 31 of us comes 31 times the blessings, 31 times the love, 31 times the laughter, and 31 times the prayer.
I was reminded of this just last month. I had sent a text to our family group text chain and asked everyone for prayers for something I was dealing with at the time. Within minutes, I received text after text from each family member saying that they were praying for me. There was also a suggestion for us to pray a rosary novena, which we did. I felt overwhelmed with love, which made me realize something.
It’s always been about family. And it will always be about family. We may not see each other as often as we’d like to. We may get overwhelmed with the kids, our responsibilities, or the number of things on our to-do lists. We may not be “all together” some of the time. But our hearts are always and forever together. And we will always be reunited through one thing no matter what: prayer.
Prayer is what has kept us together at all times as a family. Prayer is what has given us all the blessings we experience each day. And prayer is what will forever keep us united as one.
Each year seems to go by faster and faster. And with our growing family, I feel as though every time I blink, everyone has advanced a few years. But it’s in those small moments that we all treasure what we have — the late night phone calls, the first birthday parties, the daily group texts, the laughter that we share until we can’t breathe, and the reminiscing of all the years that God has blessed us with.
With our growing family, it feels as though we have a birthday to celebrate every week, but there is one birthday that we are all celebrating here on earth at this time, and that is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For it is through Him that we have so many blessings for me to write about every year. It is through Him that we are challenged to become holier individuals who will someday be united with Him.
So during the next year, we wish you and your family continued blessings, good health, love, and the happiest of times surrounded by family, friends, loved ones, and prayer. For through prayer, we are all united as one family.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
All our love,
Harry and Georgette Williams and Family