Are you a ‘smile, high-five or a wave’ person? What’s your preference for written greetings and sign-offs: Hi, Dear, Hey, Yours Sincerely, Best Wishes, Kind Regards? No doubt it depends on the person you’re contacting and the context. You can seldom be sure these days due to the many communication options whether there will be any top or tail let alone some abbreviation you don’t understand. The old order of things has gone out of the window with spelling and handwriting becoming ever more unpredictable. This is true also of the forms of physical greeting - no longer a reliable handshake in the West or nose rubbing in New Zealand. During Lockdown, we saw the arrival of fist salutes and elbow bumps. Greeting cards may still be big business but nothing quite matches a card received that a person has actually bothered to make for you. Do you still like to send and receive them? Perhaps this Booster has been sent to you as a greeting - if so, congratulations or commiserations as appropriate!
- ‘What I've realized is that the joy of meeting and greeting people from all around the world is universal’ - Joe Gebbia
- 'I squirrel away sealed greeting cards that people give me so I can open them later when I'm having a bad day’ - Emily Procter
- ‘The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye’ - Jimi Hendrix
- ‘One of the most telling things about a person is how they say hello, handshakes’ - Miguel (Jontel Pimentel)
Your greeting is a scene-setter for all that follows - it can be a blocker or a solid building block. If you visit Tibet, you would need to know that when someone sticks their tongue out at you, it is a greeting! Whereas in Polynesia your cheek may be touched, a formal bow given in Japan or a respectful spitting may be received in a traditional Kenyan Massai greeting. It seems we are still prepared to spend money on greeting cards - in 2020, the UK had some 76% of adults buying a card compared with 53% in USA and 46% in Australia. It was fairly evenly spread across gender but the older end of the spectrum tended to spend up to 15% more on physical cards. At least 90% of the younger generation are on Social Media several times a day where greetings are continually shared using emoticons and abbreviations to replace words. Do you know what FTFY and G2G mean? ‘Fixed That For You’ and ‘Good To Go’!
Interesting as this may be, so what! We can be so bombarded with greetings that we miss them or develop a thick skin to them even becoming suspicious of them. How often has something been sent to you and you’ve found it weeded out automatically by a Spam Filter or Antivirus Setting? What this can mean is that we miss a person’s genuine warmth and greeting they have given.
- ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord… Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests’ - Luke 2:10-11, 14
- ‘While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have”’ - Luke 24:26-38
- ‘Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ - John 20:15-16
- ‘And God has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us’ - 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
How many people in your friendship group have missed these or other greetings from God? What about your neighbours and workmates? Perhaps you are that personal ambassador to them from God himself. If you don't give that greeting or those kind words, maybe they will never hear them. Most of us will miss hearing the whisper of God at some point but, worse still, we might even ‘turn a deaf ear’ to him. Next time you choose (or make!) a greeting card, consider how you might use it to bring something of the gentle voice of God to that person. Eli advised young Samuel well: ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening’.
TAGS – speak Lord, listening, hearing, blessing, speaking, writing, understanding, attentive, attention