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Christmas Cards and Reciprocal Altruism

I love Christmas cards.  I love sending them.  I love receiving them.  We hang them all over our kitchen, and use them as a reminder to pray for our friends and family throughout the year.

Recently, however, I read several articles suggesting Christmas cards (particularly the photo variety) are often narcissistic and therefore distracting from the true meaning of the Holiday.  Hmm.  Seems plausible.  It does seem the majority of our cards draw more attention to ourselves than to Christ.  Another article challenged Christians to use Christmas cards to bless those who might not otherwise get holiday wishes (widows, singles, the elderly), rather than practicing reciprocal altruism within our own demographic.  This is an excellent challenge, and one that I would encourage all believers to accept.  Are we really reaching out to those who need love?  Or are we simply passing around delicacies in privileged circles, while many outside are cold and hungry?  

As I write this, our own Christmas (photo!) cards sit next to me.  A few await personal notes and addresses, the majority have already been completed (I know.  It is December 4th.  I am as shocked and appalled as you, gentle reader).  I prayed for each person who would receive the cards.  We didn't pay for professional photography, used promo codes to get a great deal, and tried to choose a design that featured Scripture rather than ourselves as the main point.

Still.  There is great room for improvement in our intentionality, even in an area seemingly as benign as holiday greeting cards.  Next year, I hope we will skip the photos entirely, and choose cards that honor Christ and the recipients of our greetings above ourselves.  I hope the Lord will give us opportunities to know and love people very different from ourselves, so that the majority of our next Christmas card list is not middle-class, white couples  --  meaning, of course, that our list will be dramatically expanded (since those middle-class, white couples are among our best friends and we love them deeply).  Most of all, I hope our lives always proclaim, to whomever we encounter:

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men." - Luke 2:14

That Story changes everything.


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