You might have noticed by now that the United States Postal Service has not issued any new religious stamps for Christmas this year. Yet, lest anybody think I am inciting villagers to storm their local post office with pitchforks and torches, there is no need for alarm.
The key word in that first sentence is “new.” The Post Office still has available more than enough religious Christmas stamps, from previous years, for everybody. From what I understand, the Post Office has no intention of banishing the Infant Jesus and Mother Mary from Christmas. They’re just selling off the stock of Christmas stamps that they have left over from years past and, for years to come, will continue to issue new religious stamps.
Even if the Post Office had decided to discontinue selling Christmas stamps, none of us would ever need be dismayed. There are plenty of online sites, like “Zazzle” and “Stamps.com,” that enable people to download images and customize their very own postage stamps. So you can put just about anything you want on your stamps.
Historically, countries have printed images on their stamps that help to reflect what their country stands for or values. In other words, a nation’s postage stamps were a reflection of the soul of that nation.
Christmas is like that. How we as a nation, as families, and as individuals celebrate Christmas is a reflection of the state of our soul. What decorations we have in our homes, what we include in our Christmas cards, what we do with our holiday time off, how we approach our Christmas shopping, and even what sentiments and emotions arise in our hearts around Christmas time reflect what we believe and how we cherish the birth and gift of Jesus.
The state of your soul should be the primary concern of your life. In the time left before Christmas, take a little inventory of your soul. See where your upcoming celebration of Christmas might be a little “off.” Each of us can use some gift of spiritual grace at Christmas.
Ask God for a Christmas gift. Maybe your life needs a little more stillness and peace. Some of us need a deeper spiritual joy, inner light, or purity of heart. Others need to have their heart warmed or cheered. All of us need to find a new and more authentic way to share the glad tidings of great joy.
In a way, each one of us is to be at Christmas a customized stamp on a letter and message delivered by our life. God help us all to become very glad tidings.
The image on the stamp above is from our icon chapel.