Like most people I receive a host of Christmas cards and letters every year. One of our favorite traditions is going through them on Christmas morning. Of all the letters I've received, this one stands out. With Lowell's permission I share it with you:
In just two days it will be December 25th, what most think of as the end of the season. But me, I see it as the “middle child” in our trilogy of American holidays. We started back on Thanksgiving, preparing for the renewal that comes at the start of the New Year. The thing is, January 1st can often be a disappointment. Not because your goals or resolutions were unrealistic, but because you didn’t properly prepare yourself spiritually. That’s the process we’re going through. So now that you cleared away the unnecessary distractions in your life on Thanksgiving (both material and otherwise) Christmas is the time to stop and think about what you really have and what it is you are truly grateful for. This Christmas, I say that instead of spending the day saying, “Merry Christmas,” maybe it’s time we started to instead say, “Thank you.”
Christmas is a time for gratitude. Think about just how blessed you are, and not just for your friends and family and whatever may be under the tree. Think bigger. Think deeper. Think of the Christ child and what he grew up to do. What did he give up for you? What are you willing to give up for others? This is a time for service. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Be a shelter for someone else. Help shoulder a burden and lighten someone’s load. You, me…we all deserve a second chance, and that clean slate comes in the form of God’s redemption. It’s the one gift we can all receive whenever we’re ready to accept it. His redemption is always there for you, and not just on December 25th.
Be humble, get down on your knees and help your family rise up by getting down on their knees with you. Christmas is a glorious time of year and perhaps the best time to remember the saying that goes, “All that is not given is lost.” Show your gratitude through deeds and not just words. Reflect on who you really are and what you really have. And through it all, be grateful that you’re here to experience it and know that the path towards redeeming your own life runs through the lives of others who also need help. Then and only then can you be ready for what lies ahead in the New Year. What a year it’s going to be!
May God bless you always, and I wish for you and yours a very Merry Christmas.Regards,Lowell S. Dunn II