Packing up my Christmas decorations always makes for one of the most depressing days of the year. It’s hard to move on from Christmas. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about quickly dismissing the real meaning of Christmas: that the Savior has arrived and we live every day within the story of his life and salvation. I’m talking about the sad and looming task of taking down the tinsel and the warm lights. And of course, who doesn’t love removing 30 pounds of pine needles from the carpet?
While the Christmas cards are among my favorite aspects of the season, there is always the question of what to do with them once the decorations are packed up. The cards have changed over the years. Now they are almost all photo cards, featuring pictures of smiling families and children. It just doesn’t feel right throwing photos away, so I’m not going to.
This Christmas I’ve decided to keep all those smiling faces with me throughout the year and use them as reminders of a commitment I’m making to pray for each person and their family’s intentions. I invite you to do the same. Here are five ways to use your Christmas cards to pray for your family and friends throughout the year:
1) Place all your cards in a shoebox and draw one at dinnertime, making the sender of that card your spiritual “guest” for the meal. After grace, pray for that family’s intentions.
2) Pull out one card every Sunday (or if that’s too much, just the first Sunday of each month) and write a quick note to that person letting them know what they mean to you and assuring them of your prayers
3) Plan a visit to a shrine or basilica and take the cards with you. While there, flip through them and pray for each family by name. Include that information (“I prayed for you and your family at…”) in your 2017 Christmas card to that family.
4) Separate the cards into 12 different piles, one for each month of the year. Commit to pray for those families and their intentions during their designated month.
5) Buck all trends and leave your cards up all year! (I have one friend that leaves all her cards on her refrigerator. Another has placed them all under a glass topper on her table.) Use this as a prayer wall and each day pray for the intentions of one of the families in your display.