It had to be done – in fact, I am a few days late in doing it. Well, more than a few days. I have finally taken down the Christmas cards.
At Christmas, I don’t use decorations nor even a tree – only the Christmas cards and a large Icon of the Blessed Virgin and Child, which is prominently placed in the living room throughout the Christmas season, with a little votive lamping burning there before it every day. The Icon moved back to it’s usual place on the bookshelf on the appointed day, but the cards stayed where they were.
I watched as some of the neighbours took down many of their external Christmas decorations within a day or two of Christmas, while some remained a little longer. Catholics are renowned for keeping their decorations in place until the Epiphany (usually celebrated on 6th January). I don’t know of the same rule applies to Christmas cards, however.
Be that as it may, down they came a little while ago.
The cards act as a vivid reminder of those we have not see or heard from in a while, those we often intend to get back in touch with – but, for one reason or another, we do not always do so. And when I receive cards from those more advanced in years, I am loathe to get rid of them just in case this is the final one I will receive from them. You never know.
I am careful to read the inscriptions within the cards. Most are the usual greetings which are fairly generic. But one or two are always in a little more depth, or have a. Deeper personal meaning. This year, one was from a relative who has been keeping poorly and her card announced that things are finally beginning to improve for her, which was a joy. But the greatest joy was the one promising to have Mass offered for my intentions – that meant the world.
The thing to do now is to remember my intentions during the Christmas season to get in touch with those farther away and those with whom I have not had regular contact. I don’t want my next thoughts of them to be when I receive another Christmas card next year.