Christmas Cards

‘Tis the season for receiving Christmas cards. For the most part, I really love to see photos and read updates of friends from the various phases of my life: High school buddies who saw me through my most awkward stage, married couples who lived on Campbell’s soup like we did during those first years of our marriage, fellow parents whose kids are best friends with our youngsters. The mailbox holds a new treat everyday.
The drawback to the whole exchanging cards tradition is the limited amount of space we’re allowed to explain an entire year’s worth of experiences. We carefully choose a picture that projects our intended image. The kids’ faces are round with wide grins and they’re tenderly grasping hands in sibling devotion. The honest picture would show what happened just after the picture was taken. When she pinched him and he bit her and they wrestled on the carpet for ten minutes before mom had to step in and pull them apart.
With the advent of Facebook, I should be accustomed to this type of meticulous name branding but it seems more intentional at Christmas. I could post things about my life all day long on Facebook, (“I just made a cake in the shape of Voldermort for Johnny’s birthday!” or “Thank God for lattes! LOL!” or “It’s Monday :(” etc.) but you just have that one chance every year for the card. I’d love to see a card starring a mom stirring a bowl with one hand as she balances a phone on her shoulder and points to the arithmetic mistakes on her daughter’s homework with the other hand. That’s real life. Maybe I’d throw in a naked toddler running just out of the frame and smoke pouring from the oven for ambience.
I’m just as guilty as the next girl when it comes to putting on a show for the Christmas card. There are some friends—due to distance and/or busy schedules—whose only correspondence with me is that annual card. What do I want them to know about me and my family? What do I want to know about them? I wish I could sit down with everyone on our list and find out—Barbara Walters’ style—exactly what makes him/her one of the year’s Most Fascinating People. What would they share that they left off their 2012 recap? I know I would discover something new every time. These people I call Friends have talents and experiences completely unbeknownst to me. Although there’s nothing wrong with putting our best face forward when it comes to mass mail-outs, I have to ask myself what kind of card would God send us? Here’s my guess:
The holidays are just around the corner and the three angels who visited Abraham are in charge of designing the Christmas card this year. They’re scrolling through pictures for the perfect photo. This card will be sent out to everybody (and when I say everybody, I mean EVERYBODY) so it has to be perfect!
ANGEL 1: “Here’s the one with Gabriel on the slopes. Oops…he closed his eyes in the picture…”
ANGEL 2: “How about this one? It’s really festive.”
ANGEL 3: “No. Michael hates that one. Spike, the rockstar angel, is always trying to do the hair metal, back-to-back, air-guitar thing whenever any angel within fifty feet pulls out a camera. It’s getting lame.”
ANGEL 1: “Raphael looks good in this picture. He really has that ‘Hark the Herald’ thing going for him…wait a minute…never mind. His halo’s on backwards. Good grief. We’ll never pick out a card!”
After much deliberation, they take their possible choices to God’s throne to get his opinion but He has a different idea.
GOD: “This is a going to sound crazy but instead of a Christmas card this year, I’m going to send Jesus down to a tiny town called Bethlehem to be born of a Virgin.”
ANGEL 2: “What?! He’s the quarterback for our football team…”
ANGEL 3: “And the best baritone in the choir…”
ANGEL 2: “And the lead in all the musicals! We were going to do Jesus Christ Superstar this year!”
ANGEL 1: “Why would you send Him down there anyway?”
GOD: “I want everyone to really know Me. Not the watered-down version but the real, salt-of-the-earth, Creator of the Universe. It’s hard to explain so I’m going to send Jesus and he’ll live it out for me. Don’t look at me like that—it’s going to work. It’ll be messy but totally worth it.”
ANGEL 3: “Why not send just send lightning bolts and shake the ground with thunder?”
ANGEL 2: “Yeah. I like it, and so will Spike. It’ll be like the best rock concert of all time!”
GOD: “Nope. I’ll shake the earth later, I promise. But this year will be about a baby—a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Now get going to choir practice. I just wrote a new song for you. It goes like this: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”

So keep sending those cards! I only wish I could say “Merry Christmas!” to all of you in person!!

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