Trivia question! Do you know who Sir Henry Cole was? He was the gentleman who commissioned the first commercial Christmas card in London in 1843 … an idea that caught on around the world.
Do you send Christmas cards or letters? Many of us do. Christmas cards give us the opportunity to keep in touch, not only with our current friends and family, but also to reach across miles and years to those we have known in other lives.
We have sent Christmas letters for all of our married life (34 years worth). A few years ago, I began collecting them all into one book. I realized what we really had was a gold mine of Jones family history. From the first excited reporting of our first Christmas together to “we’re buying a house” to “we’re having a baby” to the note from a recent year that the “baby” was about to graduate from law school … our lives unfolded … and we shared with those around us.
Connecting with each other reminds us of our similarities and our differences. It allows us to be encouraged, to commiserate with each other or just check in to see how we are handling this trip around the sun. It says, “I’m here. You’re not alone.” In this modern world of total connectivity, why would we ever feel alone?
Today we can send an e-mail to a family member in the next room or next cube at work and never have to talk to them. We can safely yell at them on the net without having to worry about what they might say in response. Some people have even been laid off or fired by e-mail. We can sit in a restaurant and access the net on our phone and never have to talk to the one at the table with us. We can put on our headphones, listen to our IPODs and screen everyone out. Are we connected with each other?
Are we connected with God? We can hit the button and send our prayer requests around the world. We can watch Christian TV all day, but never take the time to talk to God, Who is right in the room with us.
There is something (or Someone) inside of us calling to be connected, not to the world, but to God and to each other. Our very physical bodies reflect that need. Nothing happens within the body without the cells communicating with the brain and with each other. It was the Design of the Creator!
This Christmas, how about trying an experiment of changing your connectivity?
Really seek to know those you thought you already knew well (like your family). Really listen and talk together.
Have periods of time where you deliberately turn off the TV, turn off the computer, put the cell phone away and take off the headphones.
Walk into public places without any distractions or protections from Life and embrace Life. Say Merry Christmas to that stranger. Help that person who looks like they need help. Say the encouraging word.
Go beyond that chance encounter in the yard with your neighbors. Invite them over for a visit.
And if you feel so led, send a few Christmas cards or letters to people who changed your life … and reconnect!
Look at those Christmas lights. Realize their beauty comes from each of them being connected to the source of energy and to each other. Ponder what a difference it makes when any one of them goes dark.
Go outside where the Heavens are declaring the Glory of God. Look up at the stars. Feel how God has connected them all. Know that you are a part of His Wonderful Universe and you too are connected to Him. Join the chorus of cells within your body singing with Joy to be His Treasured Creation!
On that day, you will realize that I am in My Father
and you are in Me,
and I am in you.
(Jesus talking to God)
… that all of them may be one, Father,
just as You are in Me,
and I am in You.
May they also be in Us,
so that the world may believe
that You have sent Me.