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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Away with the manger?

The message is missing in many Christmas cards today

I love Christmas cards. They ignite the Yuletide spirit in me each year. I cherish childhood memories of sorting through my grandparents’ bulging pile of holiday mail. They received too many cards to display and kept most in a deep, flat-bottomed bowl. I would study them all, judging them on the merit of their artwork but also on the content of the message. I’m positive that time spent reviewing my grandparents’ annual collection contributed to my lifelong enthusiasm for sending my own cards.

Sarah Mitchell chose these cards for
Sarah Mitchell chose these cards for her 2008 Christmas greetings.
The popularity of sending cards has waned, I know. People complain about not having enough time to write them or about the expense of postage. Like stringing popcorn for the tree, sending Christmas cards seems almost an old-fashioned tradition.

My friend Paul is a fan of Christmas cards, too, and I almost always receive his card before any other. I’ve come to expect exquisite cards from him but didn’t notice that, unlike previous years, his 2005 selection was secular in nature. Paul mentioned it in an e-mail a week or so later, saying it was getting harder to find Christmas cards with a Christian theme and wondered if this was a deliberate policy. I didn’t consider it further until last year when I started shopping for my cards.

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October issue

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