Years ago when I was first married, my wife and I received a Christmas Card from (somebody) and she made all of the necessary sounds, “Oh look, how cute, they have grown so much, etc. etc.” She handed me the card and I said, “Yea…pretty cool” and threw the card away. She gave me the look of death and dug the card out of the trash. To this day, I’m not sure how long we have to keep Christmas Cards before throwing them away. In fact, I don’t EVER open Christmas Cards anymore.
I realize Christmas is two days away and if you haven’t received a Christmas Card from us yet…I will take your complaints to the complaint department and see what’s taking so long. Once I’m finished filing that paperwork, I will send you out a card expressing our concern for your lack of receiving ‘said’ Christmas Card and then make overtures and promises that next year…Yes, next year…they may be on time. But seriously, the tradition of sending Christmas Cards is a fascinating exercise in human behavior. As busy as this season is, self inflicted gunshot wounds one an all, I can’t wrap my mind around WHY we send out Christmas Cards. Analyzing this, it seems to me, that there are 3 different categories of “Senders”:
- Black Friday Senders: On their way to the mall, they drop off the stack of Christmas Cards that they spent all Thanksgiving afternoon filling out or creating on their computer. Kids were forced to dress in Holiday gear and pose in various places pretending to be happy. These are the first cards received which start the other two categories of “Senders” thinking.
- Good Intentions Senders: While this category has a sub-category, both of them start off the same way. Upon receiving the first batch of Christmas Cards in the mail, these “Senders” add “Christmas Cards” to their “To Do” list (it is actually difficult to write a sentence with 3 quotations…go ahead, try it). The first group will get their cards done, an out on time. The second group will get caught up in the hustle and bustle and send them out on December 24th…or December 26th.
- Bad Intentions Senders: These are the folks that wait for all of the incoming cards to arrive before deciding who they will send their cards too. Usually there is a cut-off date of some sort, in order for their ‘sent’ cards not to arrive late. An often times, a second mailing will occur once they receive cards from the hustle and bustle folks who sent theirs on the 24th.
I assume, the intention of the tradition, is to express your love and friendship to those who receive your cards. This is where I get confused because it seems that I get three different types of cards:
- Family Picture: Ah yes…the family picture. All of those smiling faces, forced into a pose of some kind. Sometimes I get a themed family picture, or a vacation picture, or a picture where everybody is wearing matching clothes.
- Year in Review: The letter is neatly typed, paragraph’s are spaced so every member of the family has equal billing, achievements an awards are in bold print, with a conclusion woven with words of wisdom tinged with humor.
- Mass Mailing: The impersonal Christmas Card filled with signatures and a religious neutral saying like “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”.
If (and I do mean If) Christmas Cards are about expressing love and friendship, then why do we send out family pictures, year’s in review, or impersonal cards? I would think that with FACEBOOK, I already know what your family looks like because FACEBOOK gives me the license to snoop around whatever laundry you want to put out there and typically, that laundry includes a lot of pictures of family. If we are not friends on FACEBOOK, why would I receive a card from you? Likewise, if someone feels it’s necessary to write down their family’s year in review because, otherwise, I would not know; then maybe I have no right to know. And finally…what is up with the impersonal card? (If you are wondering when the devotional aspect of this rant will start…well, so am I.)
It all boils down to this, if you want to express your love and friendship towards another person, please don’t wait until Christmas to send them a card. Tell them frequently, tell them often, whatever the medium may be. Share the Christmas Spirit, the Holy Spirit…love – joy – peace throughout the year with your family and friends. Share it with words, share it with touch, share it through letters an emails and even through FACEBOOK, but share it. Saying all of that, consider this ‘treestand devotional’ as my Christmas Card to all of you…I love you.
May peace and joy be a part of your Christmas celebration this year. Remember, there is no peace and joy without the presence of God Almighty residing within, going before, and covering our flanks. If this “Christmas Card” has reminded you to send out yours…I hope and pray that your intentions are good.