Although I did not send the usual number of Christmas cards this year, I did receive several beautiful greetings from many of you. Thank you!
So … what to do with Christmas cards after the eggnog has soured and the poinsettia is dead? Just pitch the cards while cleaning up all the decorations and torn wrappings? No way.
Sometimes I frame cards. One example hangs in my office – a reminder to stay in JOY all through the year.
Use cards to decorate the house next year? Yes.
One particular card declares “Noel” on my kitchen table. I hate to pack it away. Maybe I’ll leave it up through February. It is, after all, a deep red color.
For several years, I used the front cover of Christmas cards as gift tags for the next year. Using a plain brown wrapping with a colorful card was fun and lovely.
But for the last few years, I have enacted a special routine after the holidays. I set my basket of cards on the kitchen table, next to my Bible and a candle. This is my sacred place for meditation, reading and prayer each morning.
Every day when I meet with God, I choose one of the cards and read again the message written inside. Sometimes that includes letters from friends, family and clients. Then I pray for the person who sent the card.
I ask God to bless that person and her/his family during the coming new year — to fill them with hope and joy — to draw them closer to the loving heart of Abba.
If I know of a particular need, I pray for that. Keep them safe, especially this year with COVID-19 still raging, racial injustice still prevalent and political turmoil underscored. Provide for them what they need — a warm and safe home, food every day, enough love to keep them in abundant joy.
This year, I know of many people who are grieving: Oh, sweet Spirit — send them a special touch of comfort. A flash of crimson cardinal that decorates a bleak winter tree, a treasured grandchild with a kiss still sticky from leftover candy canes, a beautiful song that reminds them of their loved one. You know what to do, God. You know the desires of all hearts. Comfort those who need to know you’re close.
Praying through my cards helps Christmas last a little longer and reminds me of all the friends and loved ones who took the time to send me a holiday message.
I feel a bit more loved.
It reminds me how we are connected — through the DNA of family members, through experiences we have shared, through the beauty and power of words, through the bloodline of that baby in the manger who became the Savior on the cross.
Christmas is about more than decorations and presents. And the weeks after Christmas are about more than cleaning up, starting a diet, cashing in gift cards or going back to work.
Hope travels from one season to the next, especially when it is tethered by praying over my Christmas cards.
©2021 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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