Why Christmas Cards Are Really Advent Cards

They’re full of hope and the promise of God’s coming on Earth.

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A woman prepares her Christmas cards

We don’t really call them that. We call them Christmas cards, not Advent cards, but they really are that. Advent Cards. They’re all full of the promise of God’s coming on Earth. Even if you don’t mail them till after the first of January (Send them to me anytime!).

Rick Hamlin as a boy with his family
A young Rick Hamlin, center, in his family's Christmas card photo.

As a kid, I remember how the family all had to get together for the Christmas card photo. There were four of us children all two years apart, and I can imagine how much work it was for my parents to get us cleaned, dressed, combed and smiling for the 50 to 30 minutes it took some unlucky photographer to capture us for posterity.

At any moment, if it went on too long, one of us was going to burst into tears or get into a fit of giggles or start squirming and ruin the picture. “Smile!” the photographer said. We smiled and smiled and smiled until we couldn’t anymore.

I don’t ever remember enjoying getting that photo shot. Most of the time I was thinking, “I’m hungry…I’m bored…I want to go play…When is this going to be over?”

Funny thing, though, when you saw the final results we all looked fabulous. The perfect family. You could never tell from any of those beautiful photos that my brother was about to wrestle me to the floor or one of my sisters hated that dress she had to wear.

That’s why I’d like to call the Advent cards. They show all the inherent goodness in people, not the silly things going on in their heads. They’re full of the promise of what’s to come. Somehow in a Christmas card photo we all got remade…the way the world gets remade with faith.

So savor those Christmas cards…Advent cards…especially the ones with family shots. “Merry Christmas!” they say. “The Savior is about to come. The world will be transformed. Peace on earth for all!” The world captured for the very best.

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