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Change of Address

Change of Address

By Elisa Morgan

I carefully peel off the next address mailing label, position it in what I hope is level horizontal and press it into place. Then the next one. And the next. My fingers suddenly pause as I read the next name and address. A “Mrs.” - without its historical “Mr.” How bare, skeletal and bereft my Mrs. Friend now appears in her new format! I’ve never seen her in such a state before. I’m shaken.

What other surprises might await my Christmas card addressing this year I wonder?

I do my best to prepare my mailing labels well in advance of the holidays. I open my Word doc named “Christmas Labels” with the associated year and update addresses that I notice have changed. I’ll note a nephew or niece, newly married, and text their mom for the accurate spelling of their new spouse’s name. Or I’ll do a double-take as I spot a strange city and state in the address field for a friend who used to live down the street. I remember births and adoptions, causing small families to suddenly bulge. I see a group address to a ministry where I worked for decades and once knew the name of every staff member. I think of new friends from my current work and relationships born in my neighborhood.

Smiling, I realize my list has grown to require another page of labels.

In some moments, my heart tugs at the litany of struggles buried behind the tidy columns of names. Health challenges. Upturned expectations and disappointments. I balk at the suddenly single status of a beloved due to divorce – or increasingly as I get older – death. A Mrs. without her Mr. A Mr. without his Mrs.

A cheery thought for our December doings, right?

Year after year, with the reading of each name and the remembering of every relationship, I find a kind of perspective offered in my annual Christmas label affixing. A taking in of the inevitability of change. We are not immune. Not one of us. Time marches on. We grow. We diminish. We joy. We cry. We embrace. We release. We come. We go.

I reach for the next label and ponder, what change might evolve in the upcoming year? How will this family cope? What might she feel? How might he respond? Where will they move? Who will they gain? Who will they lose?

And me…what’s ahead for me?

In this moment, I lean away from the sorrow that always licks around the edges of life – sometimes especially at the holidays. And I consider again how joy and sorrow are woven together in our days. Growing families and new life, ebbing energy and illness and ultimately death. I can also remember the always presence of my Hope. I am not alone.

In whatever change I face, there is One who remains unchanging. One who is unchangingly with me in every season of every year. One who created Christmas so that each name on these very labels might be carried forward and through the change waiting just around the corner.

Including me. And you.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Elisa Morgan's latest book is You Are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include When We Pray Like Jesus, The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.


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