Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Letter


Welcome to our December blog chain post. The theme is "Gifts of the Heart"  More than any other time of year we stop to reflect on those who are important to us with gifts of food, notes or special objects that show our affection, but none is as important as the gift that God gave us--His own son. That one gift from the heart of God should resonate in our hearts everyday for the rest of our lives! I hope you enjoy my contribution to the  Blog Chain and hope you visit the others listed on the side bar. 

 Over the past decades the Christmas letter has become a tradition with many families scattered all over the country or in many parts of the world. These special communications draw loved ones closer by sharing events that have shaped their lives over the past year, including pictures of events or even videos further bridging the miles.

As I sat down to write this year's letter, I am reminded of the eternal Christmas letter-- the one that still shapes our lives today. This letter was penned from the heart of God as a lasting communication of His love for us. The Bible, Old and New Testaments are comprised of many events including our separation, our need for His council, His standards for living and of course His power. Within those pages we see His heart, His love for humanity and His plan to restore us to right standing.

Although the specific day we celebrate the savior's birth is not the actual day of Jesus birth, we celebrate in spirit and in truth. He came as announced long ago by the prophets. Everything about His arrival was predicted thousands of years before. The challenge for us in not only to read the letter, but to believe it. So how can we believe if we weren't there? How can we know if these things are true? What kind of evidence do we have to support this letter?The truth never changes, it stands the test of time, through all scrutiny and ideals-- it remains solid.

We have the benefit of hindsight, the whole story is told to us through the pages of scripture. We didn't live through each of those days as the authors did. We didn't face the challenges and dangers as they did, but we know in our hearts that those things happened as told. How do we know? Though the presence of the Holy Spirit, the legacy of Jesus coming to earth. So what happened that first Christmas? 

“That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don't be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The savior—yes the messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: you will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God; Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to all whom God favors” Luke 2: 8-14 NLT

The Holy Spirit confirms to us the truth that Jesus came just as the scriptures detail. He convicts those who have not believed that Jesus is who He said He was and that they need to accept the gift of Christmas. Just like a picture of events or a video, we can see the love of God through the ages of history, His faithful love endures forever.

As you write your Christmas letters this year to those you love, don't forget to read the letter sent to you!

May the love of God and the Peace of His presence fill your homes and hearts with love!!



copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

18 comments:

E. G. Lewis said...

Good Thoughts, Terrie. We are always at risk of being overwhelmed by the commercialism of the season. Peace and Blessings

MGalloway said...

Well said. I'm continually amazed at the depths of the Bible. Every time that I think I have a handle on what is written in it, God shows me otherwise. There is no other book like it on earth.

Mike said...

Shepards watching their sheep through the night. When I was in the service, they used to make us occasionally pull duty. It was always a struggle to stay awake, let alone stay alert. I wonder what time at night it was, were they struggling to stay alert, were they dozing? The sight of those Angels must have been startling as well as horrifying. It's interesting whenever an angel appears in the Bible the person is trold to not be afraid. They must be awe inspiring.

Tracy Krauss said...

I really liked the way you referred to the Christmas letter as a gift. I sometimes wonder if anyone stops to read them anymore or if anyone cares, and I will admit, writing it and sending cards out can seem like just another chore. I think if we pray about this and maybe take extra time this year, it might be more of a 'heart thing'.

Traci B said...

Great post, Terrie. No one we know writes Christmas letters, and as my parents' siblings age and pass away, the number of cards we receive dwindles too. Still, it's good to know they're thinking of us and we're thinking of them this time of year. And it's wonderful to know God was thinking of each of us when he wrote the love letters contained in the Bible and personified them in His Son Jesus.

Keri Mae said...

This is the first year we did not include a letter with our card, mostly because we get a lot of flack from our Christian witness within it (when we say things like "The Lord bless you" or "Jesus has been so good to us"). We cut our card list by a third too, choosing to send them to folks who still see the value in sending one to us (and not by email). To me, a card or letter is a gift, and if recipients keep spitting upon them...well, this year I decided to let it go. I suppose the letting go was a gift to mine own heart this year.

Jack Brown said...

A Christmas letter sang by a multitude of Angels....

When a lamb is born it'z only right the shepherds should know....

good post

From Carols Quill said...

Perfectly said, Terrie. I love your idea that scripture is God's Christmas letter to the world. Beautiful!

Terrie said...

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! I am glad to see that I am not the only one who still composes the Christmas letter. After I wrote this post, I thought to myself, "Everyone emails and video chats--duh!, no one will get it" I sometime wonder in this fast pace world that we live in, if the Lord did not anticipate how the web would effect our lives and given our design and the way that touching something effects our perception, like a letter or a book. Call me old fashion but I still enjoy penning a note or holding a book. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Christine Henderson said...

Just saw a wonderful program at Cornerstone church in San Antonio called "There is a Hope" it was a choral program followed by a play highlighting the true meaning of Christmas - as you said the Christmas letter. It definitely put me in the true spirit of the season.

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

I agree with Carol. I also like the idea of Scripture being God's Christmas letter. He certainly has included some very challenging and life altering comments. Great post, Terrie.

Suzette said...

This was touching. As sinners we have to constantly be reminded of God's love to us. Jesus is definitely God's gift and his letters are the link, the Bible. Thank you for this post, I enjoyed reading!

Sheila Hollinghead said...

Good thoughts!

Thanks so much for sharing!

chris said...

I'm a words of affirmation person so "the Christmas letter" warms my heart... much like your post has this evening Terrie!! Thanks :)

Cindee Snider Re said...

"His love endures forever." Could there be any greater words? Nothing can snatch us out of His Hand, not stress or commercialization or cranky people who dislike our Christmas letters, nothing. Therein lies perfect peace. We are His. We are loved. Forever. No matter what.
Merry Christmas to you, Terrie!

Scott Fields said...

That's an interesting parallel I never really thought about before. Christmas letters are typically updates and summaries of family events over the past year--what's new, who did what, how the job/hobby/school thing is going. As you stated, however, the Bible is a continuing and eternal truth. It doesn't change. There are no "updates" or new information to pass along. And yet it's a letter we need to be reading constantly, because we're constantly changing. We need to readjust our perspective to include scriptural truth on an ongoing basis . . . and the only way to ensure that is to read God's letter more often than every December.

Great connection, and great post, Terrie.

Deborah K. Anderson said...

This is what it's all about, Terrie. Thanks for sharing this.

Keith Wallis said...

Chistmas letters to friends distanced by years and miles - sometimes they're not easy to write.
Maybe they should be prefixed with 'Fear not' - at least they're not bills.