Ever consider changing your Christmas card tradition? Before you discard or put away those seasonal cards, why not embrace the idea of turning them into an annual prayer collection?
So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16 (CEV)
One of the things I love most about the holiday season is sending and receiving Christmas cards.
Since our family lives far from relatives, there have been many years when we were unable to travel "home" to be with our extended family at Christmastime.
But … each year I can count on my Aunt Elsie to send the first Christmas card of the season, which always arrives in my mailbox the week after Thanksgiving.
As days pass, I find myself waiting with great anticipation for the mailman to slide a new batch of red and green envelopes into my holly-and-bow draped mailbox.
My routine is always the same: I open each card, read the message inside, gaze and smile at the enclosed family photo, then proudly tape it to my kitchen pantry door.
As the countdown to Christmas continues, every white space on that door disappears as I tape a steady stream of cards and pictures over every inch, including the doorframe.
Smiling faces and seasonal attire are on display as I hang each card with loving care. Neighbors, friends, relatives, classmates, co-workers … even our mailman and dentist’s cards are included.
I used to bundle all those cards and tuck them away in a keepsake box once January rolled around. But the last several years, I’ve decided to make some changes to my Christmas card tradition.
Instead of tucking away those beautiful smiling faces (into a box I probably won’t open until the following December), I transfer them onto a decorative framed corkboard, which hangs in my laundry room.
You’re probably wondering, the laundry room? Yes, the laundry room, because for me it’s a central place where I’m guaranteed to be several times a day.
I made a decision to display the cards there, so every time I went in and out of the laundry room, I was reminded to pray for each person represented.
Even after the Christmas decorations are packed and put away, the cards remain and I am committed to pray for each family. Not just for one month or two, but all year long.
I pray for stronger marriages and godly children.
For daily provision and unexpected blessings.
For loving conversations and renewed appreciation.
For restored health and increased faith.
Every time I whisper a prayer, I’m reminded of how blessed I am and grateful to God for placing these special people in my life.
Though many miles may separate us, prayer instantly brings us invisibly together — right in the midst of some flowery-scented laundry detergent and spray starch.
Just like today’s key verse (Ephesians 1:16) says, "I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers."
Ever consider changing your Christmas card tradition? Before you discard or put away those seasonal cards, why not embrace the idea of turning them into an annual prayer collection? What a great opportunity to speak prayers of blessings into someone else’s life and experience a greater sense of gratitude in your own.
Let’s remember that God has placed specific people in our lives for important reasons. Not only do they need our prayers during Christmastime, but all year ’round.
Father, help me not just to look for blessings during the Christmas season, but to go out of my way to bless others. Remind me to pray for friends and loved ones every time I pray for myself. Teach me to invest in my relationships by sharing Your love and grace with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Thessalonians 1:2, "We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers." (ESV)
Proverbs 17:17a, "A friend loves at all times." (ESV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What other ways can you create a visual reminder to pray for family, friends and those in need of prayer?
What other ways can you be a blessing to friends and family as you partner with God to make an eternal difference in their lives?