One of my favorite things to do during these quiet days of Advent is to sit quietly, in the early hours of the morning – just me, my coffee, and the fireplace – and enjoy all of the beautiful Christmas cards we receive. In the hustle and bustle of parenting, over the years I’ve often opened these envelopes and placed our cards in a basket or along the counters and cabinets of the kitchen. A few years back, I actually took a little more time and held off opening these cards until I was alone and could read them.
I enjoy taking time to reflect on the pictures and words that were chosen by the sender. It’s amazing how this tradition has changed over the years. Years ago, store-bought cards came with a special message and perhaps some school snapshots inside, while the sender wrote a few special sentiments to you and your family while sharing some highlights of their year. Now, there are full-page, typed newsletters, as well as beautiful photo cards with names inscribed at the bottom. Although I miss the little hand written note, I know these cards are significant time savers. I know, because in the past, I’ve sent out over 80 cards. That’s a lot of writing I’d have to do. I suppose it would be do-able if I were really organized and started let’s say………..in June! But, unfortunately that never seems to happen and a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Being connected on social media has also given us ways to communicate more often with those we don’t see as often. I do miss those little notes though, but I can’t expect from others what I do not have the time to give myself. Taking the time to sit and read these cards has been a nice little way to pray for the sender as well. Nothing long and time-consuming, just a simple blessing for the sender and their family and a thank you for the times and memories they’ve shared in my life. As I write this, too, I think about praying for those who are lonely during this time of year and how I should be offering prayers for those who don’t receive any cards at all.
At the end of the season, when all the decoration and remains of Christmas have passed, I’ve taken to preserving some of my Christmas cards. I grab my punch and create tags for next year’s gifts. Some will be used in collage art projects, and a few I will even frame as inexpensive Christmas decorations. I love snowmen and this card was made by my sister-in-law a few years back. I just can’t throw out any of the handmade cards; so much time and creativity were taken with them. Those newsletters and photo cards actually have a box of their own, tucked away in a closet. As I place a new batch in the box, I like to sift through and see the changes in the faces over the years.
What are some things you do with your Christmas cards?
As we enter our third week of Advent, the week where we focus on rejoicing, let us thank God for all those He has placed in our lives to enjoy this journey and never forget those who are lonely and perhaps we have been called to serve.