December is my favorite mail month of the year. I’m always relieved to find Amazon packages waiting on my front stoop, mercifully keeping me out of the stores for additional holiday shopping. Christmas cards replace the usual junk mail and bills, making the trip to the mailbox a bit more exciting each day. These cards serve as welcome reminders of friendships we’ve enjoyed throughout the various seasons and cities of our lives. It’s a brief glimpse of the people we love, but rarely get to see as much as we’d prefer.
Now that January is here, we’ve packed all the Christmas decorations, untrimmed the tree, and eaten the last remnants of holiday treats. When it comes to the Christmas cards, I always feel unsure of what to do with them. I don’t want to store them in the attic, but I always hate throwing them away. I know most of them came to my door with a certain level of time, effort and frustration (getting everyone smiling at the camera can be minor miracle), so I want to enjoy them for as long as possible.
This year, we’ve decided to put to practice an idea that one of my friends came up with a few years ago. She told me that she places all of her cards in a box and sets it near her table. Each evening at dinner they pick a Christmas card and pray for that family. We began yesterday and I’m already hoping this will become a new family tradition.
The first card chosen was of a family from our church who adopted a new son this year. Having their picture in front of us helped my children to recall that this is the family who regularly sits near us in church. It was a delight to get to pray for them as they adjust to becoming a family of five. Tonight, my daughter picked a card from a college friend of mine. Praying for her made me all the more thankful for the friendship we’ve shared all these years.
In Ephesians 6 Paul encouraged his readers to put on the full armor of God, preparing their hearts for the inevitable spiritual battles to come. He concludes by exhorting them to continue, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). I’m hoping this simple idea will provide a way for our family to pray with greater faithfulness for the people we love in the new year. It also allows me to enjoy my favorite pieces of mail all throughout the year.