We started our tradition of custom Christmas cards in 1993, inspired by a talented commercial artist named Dick Pasi who was a friend of our family. Years before desktop publishing would make it commonplace and easy, Mr. Pasi’s annual Christmas card featured a reproduction of one of his watercolor works of art.

The year we got married, Jessica and I agreed to follow suit and start our own tradition. More of a cartoonist than a fine artist, I decided to employ an unnamed Polar Bear character whom I had created in college.

Beginning in 1997 the Polar Bear got a sidekick – our beloved miniature schnauzer named Daisy.

Kids change everything.

Now, in contrast to our dog crossing over into a cartoon world, the Polar Bear crossed over into ours, and interacted with our own young cubs.

Beginning in 2007, we learned that the Polar Bear has a family of his own. And we happen to know the names of the kids: Jill, A.J., and Ellie.

Sadly, Daisy left our world in late 2009. But happily, a new arrival, Lily, came on the scene in 2011.

In 2013, the family grew with another canine family member, named Teddy. We also decided the time had come to expand the tradition of our family Christmas card among our other resident artists.

I’m grateful for our little Christmas tradition … but in the scheme of things it really is little!

That our infinite God, the one who created everything, decided to cross into our tiny world and become one of us just because he loved us — unlovable as we can be! — now that’s big. It’s almost impossible to believe, but it happened, and it’s cause for celebration!

Wherever you are, I wish you peace, joy, and the happiest of holiday seasons!