This year we received a total of twenty-nine Christmas cards. Unlike previous years, the religious cards outnumbered the secular by 18-11.
I broke out the religious-themed cards into two categories; those that included a baby Jesus, and those that didn’t. Eight of the cards had a nativity. Ten had images of churches, Bethlehem, snowy woods and evergreens with references to the birth of Christ.
All of the cards were very beautiful this year. I know it’s harder and harder to find scriptural cards. You have to look long and hard. But the artwork and poetry make the search worthwhile. Some of my friends sent multiple cards in an envelope, just to make sure which side won this year!
Six of the secular cards were pictures of family. That’s kind of a different category. I enjoy seeing those collages, especially when I haven’t seen them on social media.
I have to admit, we didn’t send out Christmas cards this year. Didn’t send them last year, either. We keep in touch with everyone we know all year round via social media. Sending the cards doesn’t have as much meaning as it did in the past. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Losing the physical to the digital is easy and convenient, but is a little empty compared to holding a card in your hand.
It’s Christmas-card time again. Kind of. The numbers are dwindling. In years past, we received about fifty to sixty cards from friends we’ve made in the different places where we’ve lived. With five days to go, we’ve only received fourteen.
That’s OK. It’s a different world. We’ve been keeping up with most of our friends all year long via Facebook. No need for a Christmas letter. I get well over one hundred online birthday greetings each year. Christmas has gone that direction, too.
But of those fourteen cards, only three had a nativity. Only three depicted the infant Jesus in a manger. Pine needles, stockings, cardinals (the bird), stars, trees and candles are the predominant themes this year. Some have Christian messages, even bible verses, within, but depictions of the newborn king are few and far between.
Eight of those cards were from members of the church. To their pastor. With no Mary, Joseph, manger or baby Jesus in sight. Come on, folks, humor me. Throw me a bone! Hey, you can even draw one in. That’s good enough for me. I just want to see that baby.
Do you send out secular Christmas cards?
Would you send a secular Christmas card to your pastor? You know, a card that has snowmen rather than shepherds, a winter scene rather than a nativity, or winter birds in the snow rather than angels in the sky?
I get a number of secular cards each year from the members of my church.
Now before I get too preachy, let’s ask, “What are some legitimate reasons for sending a non-religious Christmas card to you pastor?”
- It’s possible that some people cut expenses by buying something on sale. Let’s face it, some of the card boxes sold in religious bookstores are pricey. So I can understand that.
- Or, perhaps most of their friends aren’t Christian, so I get the same as everyone else. I guess I can see that, too.
- How about this: “He knows what Christmas is all about, so I don’t need to send him a message about the real meaning of Christmas.”
I’m not sounding very convincing. None of those thoughts really impress me as a good reason to send your pastor a “Happy Holidays” card with a cardinal (the bird) or Santa by a palm tree on the front. I spend weeks and months and years preaching Christ and this is what you get. Either I’m not communicating clearly or the seed is hitting some pretty bad soil, which Jesus said would happen. In some ways, I’d rather get a Hanukkah card — at least it’s got a connection to the Light of the World.