I love Christmas and one of the things I love most is Christmas Cards. Many people are cutting back on cards or eliminating the sending of cards. I know they are expensive and time consuming, but to me they are a part of Christmas.
Let me say, that we send out a LOT of cards. We send out about 300 personal cards a year--cards that the kids used to help me make, but now I do them pretty much as a solo experience! As I fold and mail each one, I think about the recipients and how they have enriched our lives and many times I pray for them as I seal each envelope. We don't get nearly that many back--and I don't keep track who sends and who doesn't--but I will venture to say we have gotten thousands upon thousands of Christmas cards through the years.
Reading the cards and family newsletters I can usually imagine the sender sitting at their kitchen table having a cup of coffee and enjoying Christmas as much as I do. Many times I can tell who sent the card just by looking at the front picture because it reflects the sender's personality to a tee.
I will admit, that Christmas cards generally have the same theme: Jesus, good will, happy holidays. Until the card we received this week.
THIS card, sent by a childhood friend of my octogenarian father-in-law, is a card to remember. I will try to describe it so you can see it in your mind's eye [I hate to post a photo because I am going to change the name of the sender to protect his privacy].
Picture a card that looks like the front of a small white Bible--fancy, like a child's confirmation Bible. It has ribbon rose on the front and a gold pin in the shape of a cross fastened to it. The words say, "The Fisher Family Bible."
I opened the card to find what looks like an open Bible, still white with lots of gold trim and more red ribbon roses strewn across the middle of the open book.
The left side says:
"'I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!' [So far, so good!]
'The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!'~Luke 2:10"
The right side says:
"God has written each of us into the Christmas story as we turn to Jesus--our Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Merry Christmas from Alex."
All the words, including the first and last name are part of the card, specially ordered. There is no handwriting at all, everything is totally pre-printed.
When you turn this little imitation Bible over, in a neat handwritten text, it says:
"Forget Jesus...--Have compassion for the poor and sick...--Living."
What? Forget the Savior and Lord he has just proclaimed in the "Family Bible." Forget Jesus who said the greatest command is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself," and then proceeded to tell the story of the hated Samaritan who showed more compassion to the sick than the priest did?
Jesus who loved the children, fed the poor, showed compassion to the masses. Forget Jesus who gave His life so ALL may find salvation--the poor as well as the rich, the sick as well as the healthy, the gentiles as well as the Jews? If we forget Jesus, do we forget His message too? Isn't Jesus the author of having compassion for the poor and the sick?
I guess maybe the sender means to put your faith into action. Or maybe it means that this tired man is sick of those who proclaim Jesus, testify about Jesus and try to get you "saved" but then they ignore social issues. I understand that. I understand frustration with the religious establishment. I understand disgust with "good Christian people" who really aren't. I understand wanting to see more compassion. But Forget Jesus?
May it never be!