Christmas cards, they arrive like the first drift of snowflakes before a storm. Those initial flakes are caught on a mitten, examined and savored for their design. Then the cascade begins and the distinct flakes are diminished in the abundance. They collect in heaps, unite to cling on barren branches or dress the evergreens in sparkles of white. The individual flakes combine in undulating drifts, windswept ripples and glistening ribbons of roadways. The whole presents itself as beautiful as the part.
Christmas cards are as much a part of the season as snow in the north. Each one is unique. The approaches differ. The families smile in play from sunny beaches. Summer camps portray comradery in shared pastimes. A major hike is accomplished, the elusive fish are conquered. Graduations and weddings display generations gathered to celebrate. Like the snowflakes, we appreciate the unique facets the cards display.
As with the snow’s storm, the few are followed by an inundation. The wall overflows with cards and letters. They cling to mantels and array the shelves. The overflow is heaped in baskets. With the cards, come the letters. Each contains a recital of the year. They relate unique joys and sorrows, challenges and accomplishments. They are savored and appreciated for previously unknown facts, a new baby, job, house or vehicle. Lives are shared. As with the snowflakes, despite the uniqueness of each, the majority in my collection have a common beauty.
“And it came to pass…” It is the rare letter that does not contain the “reason for the season.” Rejoice, Christ is born. Somewhere, whether at the beginning, woven into the text throughout, or blessings with the closing, the message is shared. Really? Our human nature might ask. Who needs another sermon? Faith asks another question. Who does not need another reminder? Faith recognizes the fellowship, the shared joy, the common hope and the mutual comfort.
While the majority of letters are sent to likeminded Christians, many are not. Non-professing Christians, business acquaintances, friends and co-workers are also on our lists. The letters correct the world’s misinterpretation of the angels’ song. He did not come for physical peace on earth. The letters reach out with God’s message in the star. The Christ child’s kingdom is not of this world. They witness like a glistening ribbon of roadway between Christ’s cradle and His cross. The cards and letters cascade. The “reason for the season” becomes more than a slogan. The whole presents itself as beautiful as the part.
“For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth, and maketh it bring forth and bud…So shall my word be that goeth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
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