With social networking, texting etc. etc., writing Christmas Cards along with the annual Christmas Letter may go the way of the dinosaur. Canada Post is certainly feeling the effects of fewer and fewer Christmas stamps being sold and I would guess Hallmark probably notices that e-cards are getting way more usage than the printed variety. It’s yet another sign of the times. Still, I couldn’t just let the season go by without writing my annual Christmas letter and enclosing it in with my Christmas Cards to those friends and family who are not online as much and still appreciate receiving a personal, handwritten note. It may be redundant, it may be old news to my Facebook chums but it’s tradition and I just can’t stop…yet.
The personal touch…that’s what Jesus was all about. I suppose if He had been born into this time, He would have utilized social media to get His message of Hope out to a world-wide audience, but somehow I just can’t think of Jesus sitting in front of a computer screen, tapping out His parables and not going out into the public once in a while. In fact, the more I think about it, the more ludicrous it seems. Still, I wonder what Jesus would have written in His Christmas Letter* if He were writing one to us today:
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking my name out of the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I wasn’t actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate my birthday on what was actually a time of a pagan festival. No worries, I do appreciate the sentiment though and being remembered anytime.
I don’t really care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth just GET ALONG and LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now, having said that, let Me go on.
If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of the Santas and snowmen and put up a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all my followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for a Town Square scene, because there would be hundreds of them all around town!
Please, stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a “holiday tree” instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree and at any time of the year. Decorate a grape-vine and leave it up all year if you wish and remember I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my “wish list”. Choose something from it.
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
3. Instead of standing by the water-cooler with your colleagues complaining about your boss and how stingy he was with the Christmas bonuses this year, why don’t you go into his office with a gift card and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow-up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts they really don’t need, spend time with them instead. Tell them a story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them how much I love them!
5. Pick someone who has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
6. Instead of griping about a retailer in town saying “Happy Holidays”, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word and even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Think about those who have to work over the holidays and bring them a plate of cookies to tell them you appreciate them for their hard work. Take it one step further…when you go out to eat after church on Sundays, rather than look down your nose at all the people who “missed church” because they had to work, when that waitress takes your order, pray for her and thank her for her service to you and then leave her a good tip…not the chintzy ones you have been leaving. My children should always be generous!
7. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only have no “Christmas Tree”, they have no presents to give or receive. If you want to make a difference this Christmas, support a local charity that provides clothes, food, and shelter to those who are homeless or who help families in crisis. Don’t just send them a cheque at Christmas either, support them year round. If you can’t afford to support them with a monetary donation, give them your time. Volunteering your time is just as helpful!
8. Support a missionary, especially one who takes My Love and Good News to those who have never heard My Name.
9. Finally, if you believe that I am the real “reason for the season”, how about spending more time with Me rather than spending time complaining about how commercial Christmas has become? Live every day like you believe that I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE, and remember I am with you always!
All My Love,
(*similar forms of this letter circulate online each year, the sentiment is similar in each one.)