A few years ago I was going through some boxes I had packed up and stored in the closet. They were filled with things I didn’t know what to do with. As I opened the boxes and went through them, I was overwhelmed at all the Christmas cards I had saved. Pictures of friends and their children smiled up at me. I read through old cards and family letters and smiled. It’s no wonder I couldn’t bear to just toss them in the trash.
But, as I thought about those cards, I decided there had to be something I could do with them. I surely didn’t want to throw them out but I also didn’t need hoards of Christmas cards just cluttering up my closets either. I wasn’t going to display them all year long… so what could I do with them?
One night while saying my prayers I came up with a brilliant idea. On my own Facebook wall I regularly posted a prayer of the day and asked people if there were specific needs they wanted me to pray for. It dawned on me that my Christmas cards, the cards people so lovingly put together and then sent our family, could be included in our nightly prayers.
I gathered the cards, bought a box for them, and kept them near our box of rosaries. I decided that at our family prayer time we would pick a card out of the box and pray specifically for that family’s needs.
Depending on how many Christmas cards you receive you can either choose a new family each night or maybe focus a week’s worth of prayers for that family. We didn’t have enough cards to pray for a new family each night, but we did have enough to pray for each family for a week.
We didn’t tell the families we were praying for them; we simply prayed. We covered them in love, blessings, and God’s graces. We hope they felt the power of our prayers.
We plan to continue our tradition this year with the new cards we have received.
The joy of Christmas doesn’t have to end when the stores take down all their Christmas decorations. It also doesn’t have end when the real Christmas season ends either on the Epiphany (January 6) or for some on the Monday following the feast of the Baptism of Jesus (January 11). No, the joy of Christmas and the blessings and graces that come from it, can last the entire year through.
If you are looking for a way to draw closer to those you love and to enhance your prayer life at the same time, I encourage you to save your Christmas cards and pray for the families who took the time to bless your Christmas by remembering you when they sent out their cards. Pray for their needs, both those you know of and those they keep in the depths of their hearts. Place their card in a prominent area regardless of if it is for the day or for the week so that you will remember them throughout the day as well.
When we spread Christmas blessing and graces to others we in turn receive a beautiful gift as well.
Don’t throw away those beautiful cards. Don’t store them in boxes in your closet. Cherish them and use them to pray for your friends, family, and loved ones throughout the year. I promise you it will become a treasured tradition.