Every Christmas, our mailboxes are flooded with a deluge of Christmas cards. Each afternoon brings a new batch of smiling faces and color-coordinated outfits, accompanied by updates on the lives of friends, past and present. They hold our attention for a few minutes before we add them to the collection of cards we have hanging in our house. And after Christmas, their purpose served, we box them up or send them to the recycle bin.
But what if we could use those cards to create family discipleship moments that last well beyond the holidays? What if we saw them not just as cards, but as family, friends and co-workers who all have stories and are made in the image of God?
Holiday Greetings Repurposed
What if, instead of throwing the cards out, we put them in a stack on our table to pray over throughout the year? What if we spent our prayer time before meals praying over the family on the top of the stack? What if we involved our children by asking them to pray for one specific thing for each family?
This simple practice could serve to teach our children the value of taking our eyes off of ourselves and considering others. If we begin to build intentionality around our mealtime prayers, it might just spill over into living a life of prayer with our family.
This was modeled for me. One of my fondest memories with my mother was standing outside sweeping the porch when, in the distance, we heard an ambulance. Instead of going back to sweeping, she turned to me and said, “Let’s pray for whatever may have happened.” This particular moment was over two decades ago, but it sticks with me to this day. Just as a distant siren can prompt those with a listening ear to pray for someone they have never met, a simple Christmas card can prompt those with a seeing eye to pray for those they know and love.
Parents, we are responsible to teach our children the words of the Lord diligently, to talk of them when we sit and when we walk by the way and when we lie down and when we rise. Training them to pray for others is part of this calling. Don’t miss the opportunity waiting in your mailbox. May we look at our yearly collection of Christmas cards not simply as cute or fun, although they are, but as opportunities to create family discipleship moments of selfless prayer for one another around the table—both at Christmas and throughout the coming year.