The Christmas Letter… Part One

December 21, 2015


The Christmas Letter
Part One

            The days were a myriad of confusion, chaos, and deadlines as the hours counted down… countdowns and deadlines.  It never failed that the Christmas season brought with the close of the calendar year a set of financial demands of teetering investments; this year was no exception.  True, every business owner had challenges, but this was personal; it was his battle, his alone. Phone calls, emails, speeches, ideas to implement, bills to pay, commitments, obligations… And family to love, he could not forget that.

His wife went through the daily mail, separating it into two stacks, business and personal, then setting them at his desk in the appropriate baskets. Since his retirement, she had the responsibility of this task.  Margaret handed him his hot tea, with two slices of lemon, and closed the door quietly as she exited.

She would be able to determine which basket he addressed first. The personal mail usually captivated his attention for at least an hour.  She was amazed by how much personal mail one man received on a daily basis.  He was not a celebrity, but mail from all over the world poured in; people from the past and new acquaintances from previous weeks.  Margaret giggled at the thought of the stories of him chasing people down the beach while on vacation, frantic to find someone to talk to.  While others tried to “get away” while vacationing, her husband engaged with everyone!

Edward James Wutherford…His parents had come to America to make a life, to make a home, to make their future.   With them, they brought their intense work ethic and their empty pockets into their new country, arriving at Ellis Island.  They came as newly-weds and as they worked and saved, they managed to provide for every need of their little family, with absolutely no luxury.

Edward, their eldest son, had inherited their fierce determination to succeed and he made the commitment to leave no one behind, an admirable quality he learned from his military service. Business associates, family, and friends were the recipients of his generous heart.

The office was quiet; the only sound was the ticking of the old clock just outside his office, and this meant he had assigned himself to his personal correspondence.  “Good”, thought Margaret, as she sat down with her cup of coffee.

Edward continued to sort through the stack of mail; memories flooded him as he uncovered a letter from an older cousin.  He and his beloved wife had made the trip overseas to meet him many years ago.  He had found a rich heritage of family legacy as he traveled through the countryside meeting distant family and friends of family. He sipped his tea and continued to thumb through his mail looking at return addresses, trying to guess the author of each letter.  He shuffled through more quickly than usual; he found it almost impossible to focus as he anticipated the potential disasters in the other container of mail. He was about to postpone this task, but he caught sight of an unusual envelope, no return address, but embellished with Christmas clip art.  He found it a bit curious as he saw on the front of the envelope the printed words, Personal—Open Now!!

He carefully slipped the letter opener into the envelope and pulled out a piece of Christmas stationery bearing a hand-written message.  It was dated December 7.   Although the script was slightly familiar, there was no name on the closing…an anonymous letter…Curiosity prompted him as he began to read:

Dear Mr. Wutherford,

As I thought about this Christmas and pondered over what to give to those people in my life who mean the most to me, I came upon the idea to write a “Christmas Letter” to each one.

You, Mr. Wutherford, you are a cacophony of energy and experience, helping others to battle the odds.  You have taken your God-given resources and shared them with others to make their lives more comfortable, to make them better.  You are an encourager and an inspiration.

Yet, Mr. Wutherford, your mind and your heart are forever churning.  Your mind never ceases and your heart beats fervently to keep up with your drive and determination!  True, these are wonderful attributes! Yet, peace often eludes the possessor of such dynamic charisma.  My gift to you this Christmas is to pray for you…

  1. I pray that you recognize and receive the love and gratitude of your family. They adore you.
  2. I pray that you experience the sufficiency of Christ in every aspect of your life.    God loves you.
  3. I pray that you receive the Peace of God in every circumstance…past and present, yes, the wonderful Peace of God.

Mr. Wutherford, have a glorious Christmas celebration with those you love.  Celebrate Christmas every day of your life! You are loved more than you can imagine!

Merry Christmas Mr. Wutherford!

No signature, no name, no closing.  “Very odd.  Who would write this letter…” he spoke out loud.  His mind drifted a bit, but settled on the three prayer points. “Interesting, the third one, so personal…who wrote this letter? Peace, it was true…Peace often eluded him.”

Unwelcomed waves of worry forced their way into his thoughts. He reached to reassemble the stack of mail, but hesitated for a moment before reaching his hand down to the almost empty bottom drawer of his desk, opening it slowly.  Carefully, he folded the anonymous letter and placed it into the envelope.

He slipped the letter into the drawer but before closing it, he noticed the words marked in black ink on the lip of the drawer, “God’s drawer”. God’s drawer… His father had marked the words so many years ago…Edward thought for a moment at the irony of this virtually empty drawer when the contents of his stacked files and his other drawers overflowed. The voice of his father echoed in his mind… He had advised Edward to never allow the drawer, God’s drawer, to empty.

Alexander James Wutherford had impressed upon Edward the importance of trusting God with everything…with life… “Son, always remember that life is a gift from God…Let Him be in charge!”

Edward began his familiar argument, “Hadn’t God given him the mind, the creative spirit, the tenacity to live life and work out problems?” Yet, he was sure that the drawer remained full in his father’s life-time.

He reflected over the years he had sat behind this beautiful old desk and of the “concerns” that had found their way into God’s Drawer.  The most recent had been the birth of a premature grand-daughter.  She had been a miraculous example of God’s Hand and His faithfulness.  Obviously, in Edward’s mind, this was justifiable.  What could he have done for a baby fitting into the palm of her father’s hand? Today, this beautiful child danced in circles and ran and jumped!  A beautiful child!   He carelessly tossed this anonymous letter into the bottom drawer and closed it.

As Christmas approached, the business challenges and dilemmas began to diminish as he resolved most of them.  He was thankful because he did love Christmas.  This Christmas Eve was glorious as the grown children brought their families home to celebrate.  The food was delectable; the highlight of the evening came when everyone crowded into the family room, around the tree for the “gift exchange”.  Edward was thrilled to greet his family, as he wore his beautiful Scottish plaid vest, one grand-daughter naming him “Mr. Christmas.”  A beautiful celebration. He was home, home, where there was laughter, abundance…where there was love.

Later that evening, after the last family member had departed and Margaret had gone to bed, exhausted from the day’s activities, Edward sat alone watching the embers of the fire burn down and he thought of Christmas’s past. He thought of his father, and he remembered his words… “Life is a gift…let God be in charge…”

Somehow, this Christmas seemed different…

Part Two tomorrow!