The First Christmas Card

The First Christmas Card

Mailboxes are full during December as friends and families send cards, pictures and well wishes for a blessed holiday season and greetings for the New Year. Many send letters with updates on past activities and achievements.

The stationery industry thrives on holidays and Christmas is one of the busiest for sales. From fancy to plain, glittered, glitzy, colorful and extravagant, cards are available in any shape or form. In our technological world, some prefer to send electronic greetings and avoid the postage or paper usage.

For years, I have displayed the cards we have received in a wall hanging designed for that purpose. I still have some from friends and family with photographs of children and pets or vacation scenes recorded for the remembrance of fun. Looking back at these mementos is a reminder of the joy of sharing our lives with each other.

But a message of greater importance than any we have received from family and friends came to Zacharias, the priest, as he stood next to the altar and prepared the temple vessels for the ritual of burning of incense. Outside people worshipped and prayed waiting for the priest to finish his duties.

A bright light shone next to the altar and Zacharias trembled in fear.

A voice thundered, “Zacharias, do not be afraid. Your prayers have been heard and you will have a son.” Zacharias and Elizabeth’s son would be the forerunner of the Messiah and prepare men’s hearts to hear the words of repentance and salvation from the Lord.

Months later the message was broadcast on a hillside in Bethlehem to shepherds. “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy. The Savior has been born.” What news could be better than that? The astounding message drove the shepherds to search for the infant in a manger.

The first Christmas card was mailed from heaven when angels left the throne of God to bring glad tidings to Zacharias and men watching their sheep.

The eternal news was not written on paper but in the flesh of God’s own Son. The ink was the blood shed during the birth of the Son of Man and the gift was sealed years later when resurrection defeated death.

Cards can be a way we deliver God’s love to a hurting world. We can give printed messages to people we aren’t close to as a way to deliver God’s love to them. Handing out cards to the homeless, nursing home residents, store personnel, or neighbors we aren’t familiar with can tell them we care and can become an open door to the gospel. Hurting hearts can be soothed by receiving a message of hope and a tangible keepsake for the recipient.

The heavenly mail delivered to earth has continued throughout the centuries and is a card we can keep forever because this one never wears out, fades, gets old or tears.

As we send and receive cards this holiday season, we can be thankful for that first Christmas message which gives us the reason for all the greetings we will share.

May you have a blessed and happy Christmas celebration!

Barbara Latta About Barbara Latta

Barbara Latta’s desire is to help others find intimacy with God through a deeper understanding of the power of the Word. She writes a monthly column in her local newspaper and contributes to devotional websites and several anthologies. She is a board member of the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers. Barbara posts on her blog.

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