I started writing our Christmas letter last night but ran out of steam before I got it finished, so I set it aside for this morning. When I got back to it I realized it was much too wordy, with not enough white space and photos to make it interesting. So I deleted it and started again. The second version was much more engaging and (I hope) fun to read. I chose only the highlights of our year to share, deleting those events that weren’t of any particular significance. It was fun to think back over 2007 and remember how God has blessed in so many ways.
It was good to be thankful for the places we were able to go, people we were privileged to meet and kingdom projects we were glad to be part of. It was good to smile as I detailed how our daughters are flourishing as young adults out on their own and how our new church is growing.
As I read the two pages again I realized that I’d instinctively used some of the skills I’ve picked up as a writer. Things like ‘show don’t tell’, active verbs and expressive phrases. And I was thankful for the teachers I’ve had, for the opportunities to learn and to pass on that knowledge to those just beginning.
I realized too, that I take for granted the fact that I can read, that I live in a country where literacy is a priority so I can be assured that the people I send our letter to will be able to read it. I take for granted the fact that I can freely circulate it, quoting scripture without fear.
I take for granted that those who receive the letter know what the word Christmas means. They’ve heard the name Jesus, and some believe Him to be the Messiah sent to redeem the world.
I take for granted the fact that I have the money to buy cards, envelopes and stamps so I can send my letter to all the friends I want, or make it into a pdf and send it by email using my very own computer.
I take for granted that I have good eyesight and don’t have to use an extra large font to see my monitor, or use specialized software that types for me as my eyes move because my hands cannot.
I take for granted that I have the time to do all of this, that I live in a warm home in a safe neighbourhood.
I take for granted that in about 2 weeks I’ll celebrate the birth of my Lord with my family around me, all of us enjoying good food and sweet desserts after we’ve given each other gifts.
And I realize that none of it would be possible without the blessing of the God who sustains me, the God who cares about me, the God who assures me that no matter what the circumstances, He will be there for me.
I realize that He is there for all of those who do not have the blessings I do.
And it makes me want to shout to the world – “For to us a Child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Marcia Lee Laycock is the winner of the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. visit her website – www.vinemarc.com