“Everyone reaches, but not everyone touches . . .
Reaching is instinctive, but, for the most part touching is learned.
For in touching we give and receive, talk and listen,
share ourselves and see into another. . .”
~Gail Mac Donald, Pastor’s wife
One of the most priceless gifts you can give your children this holiday season is a Christmas letter from you. Whether written on pretty stationary or in their journals, a personal letter from mom or dad (or both) will be a present they will treasure now and in years to come.
I still have the two precious letters that my mother wrote to me before she passed away in 1986. Her words, though few, were well chosen and gave me the vision to begin writing letters to my children. Little did she know the impact her words would have on my life, the lives of her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren to come. She left our family a legacy of love and a memorial to her relationship with the Lord. I’m so grateful she listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and took the time to write to me. These are the only letters I have from her and they are priceless to me.
Dear Jill and Bob,
It’s about 4 a.m. Christmas morning and as I lay here thinking of all of you, I want to cry for the joy God has put in my heart for our family. I’ve always prayed He would do special things with each one of you. I prayed for your salvation when I really didn’t know Him so well. Can you imagine what He has in store for all of you now that we really know Him? Know Him like we never knew Him before? May the power of God which transcends all understanding be yours forever and may the Holy Spirit hover over all of you, and protect you every hour of every day.
In the Love of Christ Jesus,
I want you to know how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Everything you do and say is very much appreciated by me, but I don’t always have the chance to put in words what I feel. In loving Claire, you might have some idea how I as a mother have felt for you. That doesn’t change because you are a woman, it just becomes a mature caring at this point, and seeing your relationship with Claire tells me that the love my mother had for me has come through to be seen in your love for Claire. Love is what it is all about, isn’t it? God love your little family, and may the Holy Spirit abound richly in each one of you.
When you look at the content of my mother’s letters, what makes them so profound? It’s because they’re filled with her testimony—the multi-generational vision of a woman who found the Lord and prayed for each of her five children to come to know Him as well.
Where do we find this kind of multi-generational faith in the Bible—a grandmother and mother who plant seeds of faith in the next generation? In 2 Timothy: 3-5. It is here that Paul gives testimony to the faith of Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. “I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), [a faith] that first lived permanently in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am [fully] persuaded, [dwells] in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5 AMP).
The faith of these two women not only influences their immediate family, but affects all of Christendom as well. Paul calls up the memory of Timothy’s “faith” roots so He will be encouraged to keep on persevering.
If you’re excited about the idea of your words impacting your family now and for generations to come, let me encourage you to take the time to write a letter to each of your children this Christmas. If you have never written to them before, they will be blessed beyond measure, and so will you!
I have included some featured guidelines from my book Every Day is a Gift and the audio workshop Writing Letters to Your Children. These resources promise to inspire you in creative and practical ways.
First decide which kind of letter you want to write to your child:
- A spontaneous note of encouragement
- A letter about a shared experience
- A life-event letter (a chronology of events and accomplishments in your child’s life)
- A letter addressing current circumstances
- Pray and ask the Lord to give you the right words to minister to your child’s heart. You may not consider yourself a writer, but your mother’s heart when coupled with the Holy Spirit’s guiding can turn your pen into a powerful testimony of faith, hope, and love. “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1 NASB).
- Gather scriptures that apply to your child’s life. You can do this beforehand through Bible study or when you sit down to write. Listen to what the Lord whispers to your heart. Keep a Bible nearby for reference.
- Keep a scripture notebook for the purpose of writing letters to your children. If you have quotes from other sources keep them handy in a notebook, or jot them down in your journal ahead of time so you can easily reference them in the future.
- Keep a hymnal nearby for easy reference to lyrics you may want to include.
- Make honesty and transparency a goal in writing to your child. Did you struggle with some of the same issues he/she is facing at the present time? Pen a letter that creatively ties in some of your life experiences.
- Put yourself in your child’s place. What do you think would make him or her feel unconditionally loved and accepted? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal any issues that need to be dealt with on your part. Write from your heart and use scripture to address the spiritual needs of your child. Never use the written word to criticize, but only to encourage.