Yes, today’s title probably seems a bit odd. Still, none of us can ignore the truth that we are still dealing with COVID-19 this Christmas. Practically, that means we won’t get to see some loved ones this season. We will even have to wear masks. Traditions we love will have to wait until next year. For others, due to COVID-19, it’s the first year without the presence of a cherished love one. Despite all these challenges, we all can spread some Christmas cheer this year.
One unique way I suggest you share Christmas cheer is by writing people notes and letters this holiday. Longtime friends of mine, James and his wife Renee, sent us a Christmas card. They went out of their way to make sure they had our address to send us one. Their card, and many others, have made this Christmas more connected for us than usual. In fact, we’ve received more cards than ever this year. Why? Because I think people intuitively know the value of written words of encouragement.
Now some will scoff and say things like, “Written cards and notes are a lot of work” or “When did a note really make that big of a difference?” “Besides, a card or a note isn’t as impactful as being with someone during Christmas.” Yes, a card or a note isn’t the same as being present with a person during the holidays. But, don’t underestimate the impact of your cards, notes, and letters.
In fact, last time I checked, most of the New Testament was written by Paul, who could not reach his intended audience except by written letters. Now, our words won’t ever equate to becoming scripture, but Paul never expected his letters to have the reach they did either. Instead, he knew it was a way to connect with people than not at all. My friends should have the same mindset this Christmas season as many people could use an encouraging word from us.
Think about the people who are stuck in nursing homes or hospitals right now. People who can’t see their loved ones because COVID-19 protocols limit or nullify any outside human contact. What about people who are in jail? Despite their reasons for being in jail, those people, too, are created in God’s image, and they could use a word of encouragement. What about the neighbor up the road who has no family? What about people in your family? Our examples could go on-and-on, but the truth remains that written words can create a point of human connection for some that might be better than any gift given during Christmas 2020.
Sure, by the time you read this essay, your note might not arrive in the mail by Christmas. Write the letters anyway. That will just make Christmas 2020 last longer for folks and in the best way possible. If, though, you still feel guilty, I’d bet there’s a way to reach them by phone. Even nursing homes and hospitals have phones in patient’s rooms for you to wish them a Merry Christmas.
2020 has been difficult, but we still can choose how we are going to end this year. Providentially, sharing the Christmas cheer with others is the best way to stick it to 2020. Not only do we tell the birth of the greatest hope of all, but we choose how we react and respond to the chaos of 2020. Start by writing a note to someone who needs a loving connection. They’ll be blessed, you’ll be blessed, and you’ll end 2020 by loving others just as Jesus encouraged.