In a world of mailboxes swallowed whole by electronic communications, Christmas time gives the mailman a reason to get out of bed. I'm not sure if there's as many people who send actual pick me up and hold me and read me Christmas cards as there used to be, but based on our mailbox plenty still do. I'm grateful for that.
Our friend Amy has sent us a Christmas card every year since we last worked with her in North Carolina 8 years ago. (Lord time does fly). And as special as every card we get is - I love them all - there is just something a little extra heart-warming that happens when Amy's card arrives.
In fairness to everyone else, part of that is Amy's card always arrives first. Always. The mailman stops just short of personally walking her card to the door and announcing in his best booming NASCAR voice: "Cartwright family - start your Christmas." But that's Amy. We worked with Amy for several years in North Carolina. She was always organized and diligent and committed to getting things done on time. So when I get her card, I always remember fondly how cool it was to work with her.
Her cards are always very simple, but in that simplicity is sincerity. Amy was never one to try to overwhelm you with glitter and fancy attachments. What you see is what you get. And so when I opened up her card and read the simple message "hope you have a wonderful holiday season," I knew her heart was genuinely full of that hope.
And finally, most years that Christmas card is the only communication we have with Amy. There are no text message exchanges, Facebook messages, or emails in between. On one hand there's something kind of sad about that, but the reality is none of us are capable of managing every relationship at the depth we'd ideally like to. Life just out paces that desire. But that's what makes Amy's cards special. Every year her card in one way or another says "I haven't forgotten you." That the bond we formed all those years ago is still intact. It truly is an uplifting start to our Christmas season.
With all of that said, I'm not the best at sending Christmas cards every year. Getting Amy's card is a reminder that maybe I should be. But more importantly, it's a reminder that Christmas time is a great time to say "I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season." And not just to the friends and co-workers you see every day or frequently text or message with. It's a great time to let someone you've bonded with over the years but haven't talked to in a while know: the bond is still intact.
God sent His Son to seal the bond of our relationship with him. That's how important relationships are to God. One of the strongest ways God feels the heartbeat of our relationship with him is through our relationships with our neighbors. So whether you're opening a card or signing your name to one, or making that phone call or sending a message, be sure to feel that heartbeat.