For decades my mother saved all her Christmas cards. Each year she rubber-banded them and put them in brown bags. Some people might call her a hoarder, but these cards were precious to her. My cards this year are hanging from my kitchen counter as seen above. The are part of my Christmas decorations and will stay up until Epiphany, the traditional time to de-decorate. Then I will take the ones that have religious pictures and send them to St. Dominic parish. Parishioners there take them to El Salvador, where people put them on their walls. (One sister noted that very few cards have religious pictures nowadays.)
For me, and likely for you too, Christmas is the only time I reconnect with most of the people who have played a role in my life. I look forward to the news the cards (and sometimes the letters) bring. This year a Sister gave me a copy of a poem by “Anonymous” that expresses the meaning behind this annual ritual of sending cards. It makes a good insert for next year’s Christmas cards. The poem spoke to me, and I think it will probably speak to you:
We have a list of folks we know, all written in a book.
And every year at Christmas time we go and take a look.
And that is when we realize that these names are a part,
Not of the book they’re written in, but of our very heart.
For each name stands for someone who has crossed our path sometime.
And in that meeting we’ve become the “Rhythm of the Rhyme.”
And while it sounds fantastic for us to make this claim,
We really feel we are composed of each remembered name.
And while you may not be aware of any special link,
Just meeting you shaped our lives more than you can think.
For once you’ve met somebody, the years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word of of a friendly face.
So never think our Christmas cards are just a mere routine
Of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.
For when we send a Christmas card that is addressed to you
It’s because you’re on the list of folks we are indebted to.
For you are but a part of the many folks we’ve met,
And you happen to be one of those that we prefer not to forget.
And whether we have known you many years or few
In some way you have had a part in shaping the things we do.
And every year when Christ comes we realize anew
The “Biggest Gift” life can give is MEETING FOLKS LIKE YOU!
And may the Spirit of Christmas that forever and ever endures
Leave its richest blessings in the heart of you and yours.