December 22, 2011

Christmas Card and Letter

I'm hoping that the hard copies have found their way into  mailboxes across the country by now, so I'm sharing this digital version with you folks who follow us online.  Christmas cards are one of my (admittedly, many) favorite Christmas traditions.  I don't hand address them anymore - the list has grown too long - but I lovingly sticker labels and stamps and return addresses on them, type and print and fold the letter, and stuff envelopes, all the while thinking of the recipients and saying a little prayer for each of them as the card and letter get packaged up to be sent their way.  It's one of those things that I hope never dies, despite the ease of sharing digitally these days.

I love receiving Christmas cards just as much.  It's the one time of year you're virtually guaranteed to have real mail in the box every day.  I hang the photocards up in my kitchen, and like my mama used to do when I was growing up, leave them there all year long.  It's a special way of remembering folks on a daily basis whom we see far too infrequently.

So, here's baby's first Christmas card.  And the letter that came with it.  Merry Christmas, internetland.

In case you needed a closer look at those...

 Dear Friends and Family,

It has always been my custom to write a Christmas letter to accompany the Christmas card.  It tells about the trips we took that year, the accomplishments we had, the high points and low points and things we learned along the way.  I have a feeling though, that anyone reading the letter this year has followed our blog and already knows the story of 2011.  It is the story of Clara.

We took a trip.  To Brenner Children’s Hospital.  We accomplished a lot.  We fought for the life of our baby.  We have experienced higher highs and lower lows than we ever imagined we would.  I have learned more than could ever be summed up in a Christmas letter.  As I try to reflect on all that’s happened this year single words pop into my head: Hope, Persistence, Prayer, Despair, Life, Exhaustion, Joy, Faith, Struggle, Grace, Family, Determination, Mercy, Friendship, Grief, Abundance…Love.  Truly, most of all, love.

We love this little baby with a passion.  We do not take one moment, one breath, for granted.  Her life and her story have changed our hearts forever.  We have experienced love from friends and family and total strangers in both ethereal and tangible ways.  We love others better, too.  Our hearts have broken for others facing this crisis, and others, in a whole new way.  We have learned to empathize and to pray and to love all over again.  We have learned what community is and what it means.  We are continually humbled by this calling in our lives and more than ever are seeking to glorify God through our daily actions and in the way that we raise Clara. It has been a year of love.

And at Christmas, what better feeling to be overwhelmed by?  When I hold Clara now, I imagine what it would have been like for Mary to hold Jesus and know what a high calling He had in this world.  I imagine how deeply she loved that baby boy and how much her heart broke when God took him.  I imagine how much God must love us to be willing to let His only child die.  Our hearts are full this Christmas and we are thankful for the joy, the grace and the love of this past year.  From our home to yours: Merry Christmas.   

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  -1 Corinthians 13:13

                                                                                                With our love,
                                                                                                The Hardys

And just for good measure, a couple more that didn't quite make the cut....


  1. I love all the members of this family very, very much!

  2. Beautiful story....beautiful family....amazing God! Merry Christmas Hardys!!!!

  3. Know what I admire, besides your selfless devotion to your daughter, your faith, your humility, and lots more things? The way your doggy still remains a focus, a part of your life. It touches me so much. I see so many give up their pets for such trifling matters....and you, with some serious medical issues past and present, keep on lovin'. Wonderful example of humanity.

  4. Thank you for sharing your Christmas card! I showed it to Chuck, as well. I loved the one where Rufus was licking see, I am a dog lover, too!

    My husband, Chuck, had a heart attack on November 29th. We got our Christmas gift that night when he had a blockage in the best place to have one, so not balloon/stent. He has some damage to his heart. He had just started a new job (sitting behind a desk) which is a real change from working in and operating a granite plant ~ thank the Lord! He has not smoked since that day ~ doesn't even want a cigarette. He has eaten exactly what he is supposed to. He takes his medicine without fail. He knows that he got a gift from God.

    I will continue to pray for Clara. Merry Christmas! With love from Elberton, Mary Ann

  5. YOUR Christmas photo will stay up in my home, too. So glad I have a daily reminder of a true miracle! Christmas came early to the Hardy home and it's spirit will live on forever more. May God continue to bless you.

  6. Merry Christmas, Hardy Family!! We all love your precious blessing! Love, Kermit, Rebecca, Maddox and Beckett Smith

  7. While your Christmas card is beautiful, I think I prefer the pictures that didn't make the cut. Have a Merry Christmas!!!


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