This is the fifty-third Christmas of our marriage. We have always sent messages of some kind, usually cards with a note or letter. Donna has borne the primary load, but I have usually done more than kibitz. Sometimes the mailing list was long, sometimes abbreviated, but it was always part of the holiday for both of us. When I was a small child during World War II, when my father was in ill health and supporting us with whatever came to hand to do, Mom still sent cards; so it was ingrained in me; as it happened, my first Christmas away from home, as a very young bachelor right out of college, I was interim pastor of a small congregation and felt the responsibility that my mother had always borne. I bought the least expensive Hallmark cards available and mailed them to the church families. I was a sucker for advertising, so I sent Hallmark because I wanted them to know that I Cared Enough to Send the Very Best!
50+ years is a long time. With computer graphics and cyberspace, we may go the internet route in the future (and are, for a few whose email address is more certain than the postal one), but this year we are hand-addressing the envelopes instead of using a computer program. I found myself enjoying it, though I am a slow worker. The physical, individual operation of writing the name and address brings the addressee clearly to mind. Since these are people I love, there is just a tad more attention given to each one. Yes, the card and letter are computer products, but Donna and I are writing their names. For the first time I understood the etiquette experts who decree that thank you notes should be thus addressed. It occurs to me this season that every Christmas card is actually a thank you note to God, which we are sharing with one another as we send it.
For seven of the ten Christmases that have passed since I began writing for the Partial Observer, I have marked Christmas in some fashion. This will make it eight of eleven. What follows is the text without the graphic of the thank-you note to God that served as our Christmas card and accompanied our annual family report to relatives and friends.
Thanks be To God For His Indescribable Gift!
1 Corinthians 9:15
The words of Annie Flint came to mind as I was comparing what we wanted to do this Christmas with what we would be able to do.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources.
Our Father's full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
Most of us reach the end of our hoarded resources sooner than we hoped or expected, but God's riches are infinite. He gives to the world continuously the Christmas gift of his only Son—Jesus, who is Christ, the Lord.
In 2 Corinthians Paul concluded his instruction about giving by thanking God for his indescribable gift; that is, human words are inadequate to describe how the infinite God became one of us in Jesus. God's gift of Himself to the world is beyond our imagining, so we believe what we do not fully understand. As we live in this faith we come to realize that it is the only way to live, for it is by believing we have life through his name (John 20:31).
May the blessing of God rest upon you, and upon all this world that Jesus came to save!
Everett and Donna Wilson