Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Good Gifts

“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.” 
 Lewis Carroll

Besides the twinkle lights, get togethers and just the basic "goodwill towards man" feeling that I get from the Christmas season, one of my favorite things are the Christmas cards filling my box.

It's the only time I may actually receive a letter or card from most of these people and I love that it's a way to keep up at least once a year.

Take for example these two families:
I'm changing their names and their identity (with my recently developed scrapbooking skills) just in case they don't appreciate being in my little blog:)

I've been following the lives of these two families for the last seven years. I do not know these people. I just read their Christmas letters.

They are addressed to the family who owned the house before I bought it and made it my little Blacksburg nest. That was seven years ago.


Seven years ago...

What faithful friends! Writing to a family who never responds in kind.

I just googled: "Is opening someone else's mail a federal offense" and here is my answer:

"Yes, opening someone else's mail is considered a federal offense. If it is proven that you have tampered with mail, you can be incarcerated or fined. If you receive mail that isn't yours, please return the mail to the post office."

I would very much appreciate receiving  jail mail..

Every year I say I am going to write to them and let them know that their "friends" are long gone and I am not aware of any forwarding address.  But, time slips away and my good intentions are forgotten. Until, I get their Christmas letters the next year, and sit down and read about the lives of these fun people with a steaming cup of coffee:) My, how their children have grown!:)

Seven years is a long time in a child's life. I've watched most of them get through high school and go on to collage. (Good job mom and dad! Such upstanding citizens:)

But this year, this line struck me:

"The house continues to get bigger, quieter, and emptier."

Now, there's  a piece of a woman's heart squeezed and dripped out like ink onto a piece of paper.

I think its time I write to her.

Believe it or not, I enjoy working retail durning the Christmas season.

There is one woman I will never forget. We have an item called Precious Metal Prints. It's a little kit that comes with detailed instructions and a little form of clay to imprint your child's fingerprint (and now one for your doggies nose print:) which is turned into a metal charm to wear as a necklace. This woman's best friend just delivered her baby stillborn. She remembered we carried this product and came into the store to see if we had any in stock.  She only had a few hours to take it back to the hospital and get this tiny baby's toe print for her mama to wear around her neck.

So, life goes on. The thoughtfulness of that gift stays with me, Christmas season or not.

I think we all realize that in the mist of the merriment, there are the lonely and those grieving the ones they lost to death who won't be apart of the family this Christmas. And those that feel like even though the holiday centers around the birth of Christ and all that that means..God is distant. Quiet. Must have the mute button on.

Do you struggle with doubts? I know I do. Even Mother Teresa struggled with decade long doubts and talked about the "darkness of faith"and said "As for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear."

But, then God shows up.  He lets us know he is not being silent. He speaks through the gifts of others.

Here is how I am experiencing God's gift today and his listening ear. I just received a phone call from a young couple asking if they could come over and pray for Aidan.

Now there's a gift.

These young people are giving like Jesus.

How thoughtful.

Merry Christmas to you my friends! May peace reign in your lives today! May this year be good to  us all...and if it's not, may we know how to give good gifts....

"Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"