We received a lot of them this year! We’re not good at sending them out, but are always excited about opening the ones that we get. I did some research and found out that the creator of the Christmas card was John C. Horsley, an English illustrator, who designed the first card in 1843. It showed three generations of an English family celebrating Christmas and carried the message, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.” By 1870, the custom of exchanging Christmas cards had spread to the United States. It was promoted by Louis Prang, a Boston printer, who is known as the father of the American Christmas card. One of my sources wrote, “About 95% of American families exchange Christmas cards—usually 60 to 70 cards per family. A staggering four billion cards are mailed during Christmas. How did all these get started? Museum director Henry Cole, during the mid-19th century, used to write short notes to his friends at Christmas, wishing them a joyful holiday season. In 1843, he had no time to write and asked his artist friend John Horsely to design a printed greeting card. Inadvertently, he had invented the Christmas card.” This source went on to say, “And the President of the United States sends over 40,000 of these greetings yearly—probably having the longest Christmas card list in the country.”

Max Lucado suggests that Christmas week is the week when mail is fun. He writes, “This is the week of red envelopes, green stamps, and Christmas tree stickers. This is the week when your old roomie who married Hazel and moved to Phoenix writes to tell you their fourth child is on the way. This is the week of front-and-back newsletters describing the Grand Canyon, graduations, and gallbladder surgeries. This is the week of overnighted nuts and packaged fruitcakes and frenzied mailmen. Add to that a gift from Aunt Sophie and a calendar from your insurance agent, and you’ve got a daily reason to whistle your way to the mailbox.”

He goes on, “Only a Scrooge doesn’t want a Christmas card. Some are funny. Got one today with elves pulling books off the ‘elf-help’ shelf. Others are touching, like the illustration of Mother Mary and the baby resting at the base of the Egyptian sphinx. And a few are unforgettable. Every Christmas, I read this reminder that came in the mail several years ago: If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.” In is conclusion, Max adds, “He became like us, so we could become like him. Angels still sing and the star still beckons. He loves each one of us like there was only one of us to love.”