The message of Christmas is timeless, as a man named Bob found out, while looking for the perfect card.
Bob had been a greeting card artist and writer for twenty years. He had written everything about every holiday, and had struggled in the summer to write his quota this year.
However now it actually was the holidays. You don’t write holiday cards during Thanksgiving and Christmas. The problem was, last year, a publisher friend had convinced him to write a book about his career. It was almost a how to guide for those who wanted a career in the industry.
The last three chapters were due the twenty seventh of December, but that wasn’t the primary problem. He had an outline for them, and could write most easily. His issue was the subject of the last chapter, the timeless Christmas Card.
Bob had to either pick a card from his career or, and this was his publisher’s idea, design a new card. Only that would also come with the book for the reader to hold, browse, and hold up to the scrutiny of being called timeless. He had no idea what the card should look like.
It wasn’t as if he hadn’t tried. Bob would wake up in the night, have an idea, and work on it for two hours. When dawn hit, he would have to admit to himself, this wasn’t it.
Bob’s wife Joanna, and his young son George had made Thanksgiving special. The first of December they went ahead to his parents house in Vermont. He would join them in two weeks. Bob finished one chapter and part of another, but that card kept looming over his head.
The night before he was scheduled to leave, Bob was almost in a panic. The time that he actually slept, he had nightmares of rooms filled with blank greeting cards, and pens without ink. Bob had no idea what he was going to do.
The next morning, from the drive to the airport, the plane ride, and the taxi, he tried not to think about it. When you try not to focus on something, you see it everywhere. Even the tv show he watched on the flight, mentioned a card.
Bob couldn’t handle this all through Christmas, neither could the family. All of them tried to help, as well as offering input. Each had an opinion of the perfect Christmas card.
They all mentioned cards from different times in their lives. His Dad talked about one from Bob’s Mom, with a snow scene, when Alan was serving overseas. Suzanne remembered the first year her and Alan were married, with a tree of heart ornaments.
Joanna went back to a story card from her Grandparents. George’s favorite was a card with Christmas spaceships from last year. Bob loved them all, but knew they weren’t right.
The only thing Bob did know, was it needed to reflect his faith. Bob couldn’t think about of a timeless Christmas card, without seeing Bethlehem. It had to be presented in a way, which connected with everyone.
By the morning of Christmas Eve, the chapters were finished, and the card was blank. Bob was up early, and the house was silent. He spent another hour miserable, until he heard little feet bounding down the stairs.
George, in footed pajamas, his favorite bear, and blanket, ran to his Daddy. He leapt into his arms, giggling as he hugged his neck. Then he whispered, “I’ve got something for you.”
He ran over to the fireplace, jumping for his Daddy’s stocking. Bob handed it down to his son. George, who had also placed a Santa hat on his head from the table, since he was giving gifts, took it carefully. Bob expected him to pull out a homemade card, but he was wrong.
“It’s baby Jesus. I didn’t know what He looked like, so I tried to make Him look like everybody. After all, God loved us, that’s why He was born.”
Bob looked at the card. George’s Baby Jesus had every color of hair, and skin. Open eyes, and little hands reaching outward, and a peaceful smile on His face. The Christ’s swaddling clothes were white crayon, because as George said, “Jesus soul was clean, not dirty, that’s how He rescued us. He looked like us, so we could be like Him.”
Bob hugged his son, and held him. A simple child’s faith, and wonder. George’s understanding of Jesus was profound beyond his age. Jesus loved us enough to come to a smelly stable, so we could be clean from our sins.
The hope of that night had been given to us all, peace in chaos. Bob knew what his card would be now. All the anxiousness has left him, and like that first night, it was because of a child, not a card.
It was midnight before he got to work on his card, but Bob wanted it to be on Christmas. He drafted a version of The Christ child, much like George’s only with watercolor instead of crayon. Could he do in paint, what his son had so perfectly accomplished?
Tan, brown, olive, red, and peach flesh tones, with a hair combination of yellows, browns, reds, and black. Spotless swaddling clothes, and like George’s Jesus, there were open eyes, hands, and a loving smile. Now for the message on the front and back, Bob prayed before penning it.
“He came into this world, with seeing eyes and open arms…
Christ wasn’t blind to our condition, but was intent upon becoming like us, so we could be like Him.”
What Bob had missed all the time worrying was, it’s not the card that’s timeless, but the message it holds. Jesus walked into an imperfect world, to embrace us, cleanse us, and make us whole. That is why, the timeless message of Christmas, will forever mean Peace for those who open their hearts to Him.