Funny, the things you inherit. I got my grandmother’s sewing machine, her love for finding shells on the beach, and an old wooden sleigh designed to hold Christmas cards.
When the sleigh came to us in the mid-90’s, it was long overdue for a tune-up. The thing languished in the attic until about ten years ago, when Charlie—a gifted woodworker—began courting Hillary and I put the decrepit heirloom in his hands. I didn’t say he had to fix it—not in so many words—but Charlie catches on quick. He did a beautiful job.
This year, Grandma’s sleigh got another makeover: a wintry white and gold mix, courtesy of Virginia Beach artist Terre Ittner. I wanted to add a Bible verse to the paint job. Was there something, I wondered, that captured the spirit of Christmas cards?
“Good news from a distant land.”
I sensed the Holy Spirit’s whisper, but I knew that was only part of the promise. What was the rest of the verse? And where did it show up in the Bible? I needed help and, as usual, BibleGateway.com delivered:
Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.
That’s Proverbs 25:25. And honestly? I can’t think of a better reason to send Christmas cards.
Because our souls are weary. Parched, even. And more than a few of us (including our beloved U.Va. family) are grieving, even as we hold onto hope this holiday season. We need good news—whether it’s from a distant land or our next-door neighbor.
Every year Robbie and I come up with a dozen reasons why we’re not going to send cards—the hours involved, the jaw-dropping postage, the angst over not saving the planet—and every year, as soon as the greetings from the first crop of over-achievers show up in our mailbox, we change our minds.
Words like JOY and PEACE come as a balm to the soul, particularly because we know there are unmet longings and prayers that have yet to be answered behind every card.
Family pictures testify to the enduring blessing of friends and the beauty unleashed when we carry one another’s burdens.
And cards that carry God’s promises (even obscure verses from Proverbs) provide an anchor for hope.
Our little refurbished heirloom has held a fair slice of history, the heartaches and joys that have colored at least five generations. And I can’t help but think that if she could speak, the sleigh would sing of the “hopes and fears of all the years” that are met in Christ—the good news that is the fundamental message of Christianity—and echo the very first Christmas greeting:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Sending much love from our home to yours this Christmas—along with the good news that is Jesus!
P.S. You may know that Praying the Scriptures for Your Marriage releases in April. The book was both a delight and a challenge to write (Robbie read every word and offered more than a few valuable edits0, and I’m hoping to take a long winter’s nap in January. See you back here in February 2023. Happy New Year—I’m grateful for you!