The Most Wonderful Time

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. It is a time when there is joy, laughter, love, and hope all around. We are reminded of the powerful gift of salvation we have been given through Jesus Christ. Family and friends surround us as we make memories together. Plus, there is often a lovely scent of baked goodies in the air which, if followed, could lead to a treasury of culinary delights.

All of these things are reasons Christmas is so delightful. Yet, there is one thing in particular that I look forward to during this time of year – Christmas cards. Call me juvenile, but there is something thrilling about walking to the mailbox knowing that there will almost certainly be a Christmas card waiting to greet me.

The appeal of Christmas cards is two-fold for me. One part is the refreshing reminder that others are celebrating this special and powerful time of year filled with so much meaning. It also means that someone thought of me. It is a sweet sentiment to think I was special enough to make their list of people they wanted to send a Christmas greeting to. A nice break from bills and junk mail, these seasonal notes are revitalizing. They often include a current picture, which is amusing to watch grow and change through the years with the addition and subtraction of pets and children. Sometimes there is even a letter updating its recipients on all that has happened to them in the last year. It is such a nice way to reconnect and convey that you care.

The other part of it is that I never get tired of seeing “Mr. and Mrs. Steven McIlwain” written on the front of that envelope. It is a fun reminder that I am happily married and get to play house for the rest of my life. We forget that when we were children we jumped at the opportunity to have an imaginary house where we cooked, cleaned, and savored the presence of a pretend husband who also happened to be Prince Charming. As an adult I now try to remember that childish excitement and eagerness in order to appreciate that I finally don’t have to pretend anymore because I have those things. It changes my attitude from irritated, stressed, and frustrated to excited, content, and cheerful. After all, this is what I waited my entire life for, so I better start enjoying it.

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. There are just so many ways to feel invigorated and renewed. For me, Christmas cards are one of those things … simple yet special.


Ashley McIlwain, M.A., is a Marriage and Family Therapist, speaker, and writer. She is the founder and C.E.O. of the non-profit organization, Foundation Restoration, and blog, which are comprehensive resources committed to restoring the very foundation of society - marriage. She is committed to and passionate about helping relationships thrive. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University. Ashley previously served as Managing Editor for where she helped launch and develop the website into a hub for premarital preparation. Currently she and her husband, Steve, reside in Southern California.

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