This morning, I woke up with the Christmas to-do list rolling through my head: Christmas shopping! Christmas baking! Christmas decorating! Christmas gift mailing! Christmas card writing! What to tackle first?
Start easy, I told myself. Not ready to brave the Saturday grocery crowd, I picked up a stack of blank Christmas cards and a pen. This’ll be quick, I thought.
I sat for awhile.
Then I went to get a bowl of chili, ate my bowl of chili, frowned, walked around, got a cup of coffee, and started writing this blog post.
A Conversation with the Devil On My Shoulder
I originally thought pretty practically about this Christmas card business. We see our friends and immediate family often, so my thought was to only send Christmas cards to relatives and friends who are far away. I only have 16 cards in the box I bought at an after-Christmas sale last year – 16 seems like a reasonable boundary to keep me from going card-crazy.
Prior to this morning, my plan was to take 20 minutes, write a quick note of love in my Christmas cards, label and address them, add stamps, and take them to the post office.
Simple! Merry Christmas!
BUT THEN the little devil on my shoulder whispered that my plan wasn’t good enough.
Shoulder Devil: Umm – you can’t just send a card with no “2014 life update.” People will expect a summary – hello, this was a big year for you! You just got married! This is your first Christmas card together! Don’t let the masses down with a boring piece of cardstock they’ll toss after opening.
Brooke: Yikes, little devil. I hadn’t planned to write a summary of our year. I’ve got a lot to do today. But, now that you mention it, a lot of people include a couple paragraphs. I’ll write a couple paragraphs. I’ll throw in some photos.
Shoulder Devil: A couple paragraphs? This is Your 2014 Christmas Card. What did you achieve this year? You only get one Christmas card. Isn’t the purpose of a Christmas card to update your friends and family on what’s new and awesome with you?
Brooke: Well, some people use a Christmas card to do that. Hmm, I guess you’re right. I can think of some excellent highlights to mention. Some cool things happened to us. What will look the best on paper? Let me see…
Shoulder Devil: You had better make sure this is funny and cute. People get gobs of Christmas cards. Don’t waste their time. Make it memorable!
Brooke: You really know how to get my attention. If this is another cliche Christmas greeting, our friends and family will just toss this aside. This is my chance to really grab their attention and showcase my mad word skills.
Shoulder Devil: I don’t like the cards you picked. They seem generic. Have you considered making your own Christmas card?
Brooke: I ruled it out because we didn’t factor Christmas cards in the budget…. but they’re cheap, right? Omg, and you can pick your own font, colors, message, layout. Fun! Most of my friends will send something like that. We probably should, too. We don’t want to look like we didn’t put time and effort into this. Maybe I should create a version for Facebook, too! Maybe we need multiple versions so not everyone gets the same card…
Why Am I Doing This?
I see you crossing my name off your Christmas card distribution list. *whimper* Wait! I didn’t mean to make you mad! I am all for Christmas cards. I love your Christmas cards.
But sitting down to send Christmas cards myself, I’m realizing that my heart needs a little check. So let me dig a little deeper and check my motive.
- Am I sending a Christmas card to impress people?
- Do I want to just “get them done”?
- If Christmas cards are just another things to cross off my list, pat myself on the back, and move on to the next holiday item, why am I doing this?
- Considering that I engage in frequent communication via phone and internet with the people I love, is the function of my Christmas card intended to update you, communicate important life events, recount blessings, share encouragement, or simply say hi?
- Are Christmas cards just an antiquated relic from Christmas past?
Why I Love Christmas Cards
I love your glittery snowy scenes.
I love your long life updates.
I love your family photo where everyone’s all matchy-matchy.
I love Christmas cards because they are a piece of you, a gift, and they recognize our relationship.
The holiday season assails us with to-do’s. Before I do one more thing, I want to make sure I do it for the right reason.
I want my card to you to be sent in love, not in a desire to make you jealous or unnecessarily impressed with my life.
I want to encourage you! I want to make you laugh. I want to tell you I love and appreciate you.
I want to share that the reason for the season (to be cliche, but true as I can be) is Jesus! Why? God created you and he wants to be your king. But yuck, we do terrible things each and every day. We deserve punishment. And yet, God loved the people he created so much that despite our sin, he came to earth as a baby (the Christmas story!) to live among us, show us his divinity, and die for us. Yes, God sacrificed his son Jesus on a cross for you and me to pay the penalty for our sins. THEN he rose from the dead, proving that Christ was truly God, showing his power over death and assuring us that sin truly can be forgiven. If you believe in him, you can be reconciled to a God who loves you fiercely and desires to set you free from death and destruction.
I want you to know this.
I want to share a message of hope with you.
I want to wish you a joyous, peace-filled, Merry Christmas.