Hallmark™, the world’s leading greeting card manufacturer, wraps up its mission statement in
that most familiar phrase, “When you care enough to send the very best.”
It’s that time of year, again, for Christians around the world to send their best.
There are many ways to express the message of Advent. We’ll mail packages of goodies or plan
trips to be with loved ones or give food baskets to the needy. Somehow, we find a way to give
witness to God’s love and grace.
However, if we had to choose one medium through which people have tried to convey love
during this season we’d look no further than a Christmas card.
And that’s good news for the greeting card industry. Depending upon the source, sales have
been anywhere between four and seven billion dollars, annually. Advent and Christmas, with
Christmas being the most popular of holidays, provide an enormous market.
From Advent Thursday (Thanksgiving Day!) the traffic-jammed greeting card aisle at any retailer
is only rivaled by the gnarled traffic patterns outside the stores. Whether it’s the seriously
religious themes or the sacrilegiously humorous variety, customers are bumper-to-bumper trying
to find the perfect card that puts into words what they cannot pen for themselves.
This is evidence of the constant search for meaning in our lives.
This is what the apostle Paul does when he pens his own greeting card message. In fact, his
words are intended to reach his readers’ and listeners’ innermost core of being, their hearts and
souls. He cuts to the chase: “Now we can give thanks to our God for you.”
That’s on the face of the card. Open it up, and he continues: “We thank him for the joy we have in
his presence in your faith. May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way
for us to come to you! May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more
and more and become as great as our love for you. In this way he will strengthen you, and you
will be perfect and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with
all who belong to him” (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, GNB). –Homiletics