The Letter

December 7, 2018
by Lynne Phipps

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 – The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This "letter" is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. (NLT)

Once a year before Christmas, I write a family newsletter, which I then send to friends and relatives. It depicts the major as well as some of the minor happenings of our life throughout the year. I always begin the letter with a Scripture verse of encouragement and hope, and end the letter with a blessing.

Some years, the letter contains highlights of celebration and joy, while other years, a thread of sadness weaves it way amidst the words, depending upon the season of life that we have experienced in the previous twelve months. Whatever the case, however, the circumstances outlined within the letter are always penned with a view to the marvellous hand of God working amidst them, for indeed, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, as Christians, we are a letter from Christ to our world. This letter, written on our human hearts, is not one which is simply sent out once a year. It is a letter that people read each day. For every day, the letter written on our hearts greets people within our homes, our places of employment, and our communities.

Thinking of my life in such a way has been a huge reminder to me in regard to what people may be reading when I am with them. Do they read the love of Christ? Do they bask in the joy of the Lord? Are they encouraged by my hope within? Are they blessed by a spirit of forgiveness and acceptance, even on my worst of days? Or do they read words that I would be ashamed to know about?

If I am truthful, I will have to say that sometimes they do, for my humanity can spill the obliterating ink of sin across the letter of my life and the fruit of the Spirit within me when I least expect it. The good news, however, is that my life letter is not only being written for others to see, but also for me to read and experience, as God forgives my sin when I repent and the whiteout of Christ's blood shed on the cross blots out and refreshes the page to once again be written upon for all to see.

The choice of what I will rewrite on that page is mine, just as it is yours when such a thing happens to you. For each of us is a letter written by Christ to our world.

Today, each one of us has been granted the privilege of starting another new page of our life letter. Not only do I wonder how it will read to those around us by the end of the day, but also, I pray that we might all choose our words carefully, words not written with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for a brand new page of life to write upon this day. May our writing be inspired by You and Your Spirit, that the letter of our life may be a recommendation of You and Your love to all those who read it. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Well said, Lynne. Thank you!


    Great encouragement, Lynne. Have a great Christmas season.


    Thanks for helping me to look at the Christmas letter in a whole new way. Blessings.


    Lovely devotional. I used to write an annual letter, but now I post a message on Facebook.


    Thank you, Lynn. I have written family letters for years but never thought of this connection to scripture.


    Lynne, Thank God for the whiteout provided by Jesus Christ’s shed blood on Calvary’s cross. Thanks for sharing! Blessings.


    Dear Lynne,
    Today’s devotional was one of your best. Thanks so much for the valuable insight.
    (ON)


    Lynne, I too usually do an annual Christmas letter. I do end with a blessing, but I like your idea of starting with a scripture. Merry Christmas!!!


    Lynne
    Thank you for this most profound and encouraging message on writing a new page of our life letter each day.
    Blessings.


    Thank you Lynne: It makes one pause to think…we are open letters all the time, no just some of the time. We need to not let our enthusiasm run away with our words or actions.
    (Ontario)


    Greetings Lynne,
    Thank you for another very meaningful and inspiring devotional. You do a beautiful job of writings. Blessings to you and yours for a blessed Christmas celebration.
    (B.C.)


    Hi Lynn,
    Good devotional this morning, I like the phrase “The ink of sin” I am trying to do some church related work this morning, but my mind is not on it, yet. The ink is not yet flowing.
    We wish you and yours a Blessed Christmas.


    Dear Lynne,
    You wrote about how as Christians, we are a letter from Christ to our world and how its such a reminder.
    Amen.
    Thanks so much for the Christmas present of your devotional, Lynne.


    Lynne, thanks so much for today’s devotional. I especially appreciated your questions of self-examination: “Do they read the love of Christ? Do they bask in the joy of the Lord? Are they encouraged by my hope within? Are they blessed by a spirit of forgiveness and acceptance, even on my worst of days? Or do they read words that I would be ashamed to know about?” And, of course, your prayer at the end.


    SHALOM
    How truly you have spoken! In my profession of teaching/administration I saw many teachers who worked furiously through university to get the highest grades on their degrees, and top pay status, only to put as little effort as possible into their classroom teaching, and never volunteer for extracurricular activities. One of my main administrative duties was staff evaluation and development. It was difficult to be honest and fair at the same time.
    BLESSINGS.


    Hi Lynne. How nice to read another one of your devotionals! I am always given something to think about, and today’s devotion reminds me of an autograph a teacher wrote in my autograph book more years ago, than I wish to tell.
    “Your life it lies before you, Like newly fallen snow.
    Be careful how you tread it, For every step will show.”
    And Robert Fulghum penned, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.” I tried to remember this as a classroom teacher, but oh how I would rewrite some pages of my life, if I could go back and start over.
    Once again, thank you for your lesson for life.
    (ON)


    Hello Lynne!
    I can often recognize in the first or second paragraph of each meditation whether you wrote it. It’s not something that I look for as I approach the meditation, but it’s like recognizing the handwriting of a friend.
    “Oh yes, this is Lynne”.
    There is something about your life illustrations and your way of deriving inspiration from them that connects with me on mental, emotional, spiritual and imagined physical levels. I do believe that as Presbyterians, “people of the Book”, we have neglected the inspiration and connection to our Creator found in creation, spoken by the Word, Jesus, as John describes it.
    Because you are immersed in and surrounded by creation, as opposed to being buffered and sheltered from it to the point of estrangement like the majority of Canadians, you have an important perspective that I feel needs to be heard by all, to an even greater degree than I think possible.
    Thank you and thank God for your thoughts and words!
    (ON)


    Dear Lynne
    I save ALL your devotionals. They are so right on.


    Excellent analogy, Lynne! He knows all the pages of our story even before we live them! What an honor to be called His children!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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