The Reason for the Season
Lisa stuck her hand into the Christmas ornaments box and pulled out last year’s Christmas cards taped to a string. “Why do we send Christmas Cards?” she wondered.
Her sister Linda answered her. “I wrote a report about Christmas cards for school. Did you know they started in England? In 1843, a man named John Horsley designed the first one. It showed people giving food and clothing to their poor neighbors.”
“Okay,” said Lisa, “But why do we send them?”
“Do you remember last year? Remember how exciting it was waiting for the mail, looking through the cards, and finding one from somebody special? It is a way of wishing good will to others.”
She thought about how she agonized over cards for her grandma and her best friend forever, Amanda. No ordinary card would do. She wanted just the right picture sparkling with glitter and exactly the right message.
“If Christmas cards started in England, how did they get to America?”
“For about 30 years we imported them from England. Then, in 1875, Louis Prang, a German immigrant decided to open a print shop and produced the first Christmas cards in the US. He put pretty flowers and birds on these first cards.”
“Birds and flowers!” Lisa couldn’t believe it. “Christmas is about the birth of Baby Jesus who grew up to save us from our sins.”
“Well, he sold millions of cards. People liked them pretty well. Then he started to put more Christmasy things on the cards like glowing fireplaces, snow covering the country side, evergreen trees, and families gathered together.”
Lisa thought about all the people they sent Christmas cards to. She loved every one of them.
Her family liked cards all about the first Christmas. Some had a manger with Mary, Joseph, the baby, and animals on them. Some showed the three wise men that followed a star that shone in the East. Others showed a dove that represented the Holy Spirit, Mary with the child, or just Baby Jesus all by himself.
They also enjoyed cards like the early ones, splendid with winter scenes, candles, and horses pulling sleds. Her family liked the good wishes that came with them. They thought that cards with Santa Claus, stockings, toys, reindeers and sleighs were cute but that’s not what Christmas is all about.
They hoped that perhaps one day they might find the real reason for the season, Jesus who showed us His love by dying for us, God who created everything, and the Holy Spirit who brings comfort and inspiration.
“Let’s start looking for the right cards now,” Lisa said. “I can hardly wait for the Christmas season to begin.”
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