“Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.”1 Corinthians 11:2
Between my sister and me, we have ten children. As our children got older and understood the true meaning of Christmas, we adopted a new tradition. At Thanksgiving, we draw the name of one of our family members from a box. Several weeks later, we gather at a Christmas celebration with the family, including our parents. In the meanwhile, each family member writes a letter to the person they drew.
In this letter, we include reasons why we love this person, a favorite memory, encouragement for whatever particular challenge life has thrown at them this year, or a Scripture verse we claim for their lives. The real gift is having each person read their letter aloud to the person to whom they wrote the letter and the rest of us get to listen—and cry and laugh! In addition to preparing our letter, we also choose a small gift to give our Christmas Letter person.
Last year, my oldest son, Josh, drew the name of his dad, Steve, as his Christmas Letter person, and Steve drew Josh’s name. This was a rare occurrence and surprised all of us since we keep our person’s name a secret from one another. Josh’s senior year of high school was last year, as well. They each wrote some very special things to one another in light of this milestone of Josh going away to college soon. The entire family loved watching this bonding moment between father and son.
The Christmas Letter tradition has become the highlight of the Christmas season for our entire family. We shed tears, relationships are strengthened, and by giving ourselves to one another, we are following God’s example of giving Jesus to humanity.
My hope is that as my children grow older and have families of their own, the Christmas Letter tradition will be continued in their homes. I am thankful for this time of the year where we pause to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us, Jesus, and the love letter He left us!