People have been greeting each other for centuries – even before American Greetings or Hallmark had a chance to help us with that task. It seems like you can buy a greeting card these days for just about any occasion: Birthdays, anniversaries, get well, sympathy, good luck, and congratulations are the usual themes.
The actual sending of paper greeting cards started somewhere in the mid 1800’s. Here’s a little bit more on greeting card history if you are interested:
But people in the bible were always sending their greetings, too:
Romans 16:21 Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.
2 Corinthians 13:13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
Philippians 4:22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
Colossians 4:14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
2 John 1:13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.
Last week I received two greeting cards. One was a Thanksgiving card. This came from Ohio and it was sent with a nice note inside and sincere greetings from some people we don’t see very often. I think a Thanksgiving card is sweet. It reflects a heart of thankfulness, and to receive such a card makes me feel like the sender was thankful for ME. Can’t get any nicer than that! I love the colorful cornucopia design of the card, although that turkey looks too pretty and is almost smiling. I don’t think he is aware of his true fate.
I also received my first Christmas card of the season. Already! Are you serious? I was a little shocked to have received one already. You will see that the postmark date shows it as having been mailed on November 13th. Wow. Now that’s ambitious!
I can remember, when I was a child, there was this unwritten law that you don’t put up Christmas decorations or display Christmas items in the stores until after Thanksgiving. Heaven forbid that a Christmas card shows up before December 1st! But then I thought about it and decided what the heck! Christmas is about celebrating the birth of God’s son, Jesus. And don’t we celebrate birthdays all through the year? And don’t some people have extended celebrations for very important people and very important events? And even if the stores are just trying to jump-start their Christmas sales, so what?
Folks – I say we can start celebrating NOW. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus! And although much of the early hoopla is pure marketing, it still is because of Christmas. A lot of people get it. And a lot of the stuff you see in the stores, although hidden in the generic title of ‘Holiday’ is just dripping of Christmas. A Christmas tree is and always will be just that. Don’t even try to call it a ‘holiday tree!’ That’s silly. There was one big important star the night Jesus was born – and you will see stars in much of the Christmas marketing. You will see angels, trumpets, wise men, and bells. Those are all reflective components of Christmas celebrations.
A couple of years back, they made a big deal about the workers in the stores at Christmas not being allowed to say “Merry Christmas” but had to say “Happy Holidays.” I remember saying “Merry Christmas” to them any ways, after their ‘holiday’ response. Most of the time, I got a smile back from them and they would quietly say the forbidden Merry Christmas back to me. It doesn’t seem like it’s quite so forbidden these days. I hope not.
I just got today’s mail, and am so please that on the cover of the Cabela’s catalog, it says “Cabela’s Your Christmas Gift Outfitter!” Yeah Cabela’s! You didn’t chicken out and call it a holiday catalog. Now Williams-Sonoma titled their catalog, “The Holiday Entertaining Guide 2012.” Chickens! Although the first page of the catalog has ‘the 12 Ways of Christmas’ dinnerware advertised.
‘Tis the season folks – the stores have decided to help propel us into the Christmas season. It’s okay. Embrace it. If there never was a savior wrapped in a manger – we wouldn’t have anything to celebrate!