Keeping in touch


All done for another year!  I have now finished our Christmas cards, with the final batch being posted this morning.

I may still be in a bygone age but I persevere in sending lots of Christmas cards.  Thankfully it’s much easier nowadays – with mail merged labels and a family Christmas website, instead of thumbing through address books and writing innumerable letters.

With the price of postage as it is I am tempted to cut down.  Do I really need to send one to Robert in Heswall?  Even as a curate I hardly knew him – and I have hardly spoken to him since I left in 1984!  But on Tuesday Robert’s (expensive) card arrived and so he’s back on the list.

As it happens most of the cards I send are sent to those people from my past I haven’t spoken to for years.  The only point of contact I have with them is our annual exchange of Christmas cards.  And that is the whole point!  They keep these relationships active, albeit at a very low level.

Some years ago an old friend assumed a very prominent position in public life, frequently in the news across the world.  Sad to say I had lost contact with him, even though we had spent an eventful four months together travelling north America.  I did try and make contact with him at his official address – but without avail.

Christmas cards would have done the trick – just keeping our friendship ticking over.  For relationships need cultivating, especially with those you have walked with for a limited part of your journey and are now on another road.

Clearly the apostle Paul had a similar viewpoint.  So many of his letters end with simple greetings to a host of people.  We know their names but no more.  How about Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas,  Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas? To name but a few from the church in Rome.  Whoever they were, these people meant something to Paul – even if it meant writing 15 more verses.  They were worth it.

Relationships are important – that is the whole meaning of Christmas.

That means all relationships, not just the people closest to us.  And sending Christmas cards, especially to those who may feel alone and vulnerable (Robert from Heswall, now retired, lives by himself – not his real name), is an important ministry.  And 36 pence (plus the price of the card!) is a healthy investment.  Think about it – there’s still time, even with second class!

So all set for our carol weekend?  Our 10.45 nativity service and 6.30 carol service are a great way to introduce friends, colleagues, family, neighbours to the Father of Christmas!