I went on a search for a Christmas card. Among the many things that I stress about that should not actually be stressful, Christmas cards have joined the list this year. I have never sent out Christmas cards as a single young woman, believing myself to be still covered under my parents card, but now that I am a big girl, married and all, I figured I ought to join an American social tradition (actually, it was started by the Brits, but hey we make everything they do better - except for beer).
I thought, oooh we'll order some of those cute little holiday photo cards where we all look like models and the photography is black and white and stirring! Y'know, like this. But then I realized that most of these cards don't say anything about Christmas, let alone have any images about it: real, beautiful Christmas. Christmas images showing the Blessed Virgin, a hushed manger, sweet plump baby Jesus smiling his holy smile to the world. They'll have snowflakes, Christmas trees, or big words like MERRY JOY and LAUGHTER, but nothing about Christ. And really, that's the best part of Christmas - that's the reason we're merry, joyful, laughing - that's why we're celebrating!
So then I went on a search for a photo Christmas card with something about Jesus on it. It wasn't that hard; I found several that were quite pretty. Then I realized that they were all "flat" - they were not in fact cards, but just pictures with writing on them that you shoot into the mail like uppity postcards that suddenly demand envelopes. Since I endeavor to cultivate my inner snob, I realized quickly that I could not possibly send out a flat card, no matter how chic modernity deemed it.
So then I went on a search for a folded photo Christmas card with something about Jesus on it. I searched, and searched, and searched - for three days. I had a couple of breakdowns and freakouts. Then I found it. Then we had to pick the picture to go on it, and get the uploading thingy to work - and that took a few more freakouts and breakdowns. Then I got it perfect AND found a coupon code that saved me 35% plus got me free shipping. Can we see cha-ching? Yes I think we can.
And yet it occurred to me: it's three weeks before Advent even starts, and I'm searching for a Christmas card. But will I search this diligently for Christ when Christmas comes? Will I prepare for his coming as much as for the parties, or the greetings, or the merriment? Will I be as scrupulous about the condition of my heart, as I would the appearance of a Christmas card?
I wish I could say yes or no definitively, but I am fickle. Perhaps my Christmas card debacle will bring greater mindfulness to the season, not just more mindless commercialism. And if they don't do that for me, well, maybe'll they do it for one of my lucky recipients...I mean, at least they have Jesus on them!