My favorite Christmas tradition is one that my mom shared with me years ago. Here’s how it works: every year when the season is over and I’m putting away all the Christmas decorations, I write a letter.
The letter is a mixture of memories, prayers and dreams.
I started this in 2006, and when my husband Matt and I got married in 2012, he started writing one too. It’s incredible—and often funny—to see what we were thinking in the previous year.
For example, my 2006 letter begged, “God, please let me go on at least one date next year!”
Well bless my heart. I guess that was a tough year in the love department!
We write about all the major things that happened that year and all the things we hope will happen in the following year. Then when we get our ornaments out of the attic the next Christmas, we sit down and read the previous year’s letters.
It’s always fun to read your thoughts from a year ago—thoughts you may not even remember having until you’re reading the words on the page.
Not many people are great at journaling (I’m definitely not!) but everyone can sit down for five minutes to write a letter once a year! Here’s the best part: When you go back and read them, in your own voice and your own handwriting, it gives you a bigger perspective and more appreciation for what God is doing and has done.
These letters tell the story of how far He’s brought you and all the prayers He’s answered. They tell of the moments when He protected you, even when you didn’t realize it at the time. The pages are full of testimonies of God’s faithfulness.
And they’re always good for a laugh as well. There will be some things you just knew were going to happen a certain way that definitely did not happen. (And usually, you thank God they didn’t!)
There will be other things you hoped and prayed for, and now you realize just how small those dreams actually were. What God did was infinitely more than what you could have ever asked or imagined.
Every year, Matt and I sit on our couch in front of the fireplace after unpacking ornaments and decorating our tree. As we sit there, surrounded by tissue paper that has been crumpled and uncrumpled many times, we read our letters.
Here are just a few highlights from years past.
In the 2012 letter, I wrote a prayer about finding a house and being able to afford a down payment.
“Maybe we can at least afford something smaller, but it’s okay because it doesn’t have to be our forever house. I don’t know how we will do it . . . but maybe if Matt’s project sells then we could pull it off.”
Then, a year later in the 2013 letter, I wrote about how the project sold, we saved like crazy and were able to purchase a steal on an incredibly beautiful home that we will hopefully be in for a very long time.
In the 2012 letter, I also wrote about feeling God’s call to write and speak professionally, but I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time: “ . . . I feel strongly I need to build a blog/brand/platform to speak from in the future.”
And then in the 2013 letter, I wrote about being promoted to a Ramsey Personality that year which was “so much more than I ever imagined.”
Matt and I write our letters separately, in our own styles. Mine are about seven pages and Matt’s letters are about seven words! And we don’t read each other’s until the next year. Although we write them separately, I realized a couple of years ago as we read our letters that we both wrote about wanting to start a family the year before.
Matt wrote: “I hope by the time this is read, I’ll be very close to being a dad. That’s an incredible honor and incredible responsibility that I can’t wait to take on.”
I sat there on the couch with my husband reading those words—the prayers of our hearts on the page from the year before with my big belly sticking out below the letter.
And then the following year, with a little, perfect, rambunctious boy climbing around our feet, we were reminded once again of God’s goodness. I can’t help but fight back the tears at just how faithful God is, year after year.
So this year when the Christmas season is winding down and you’re packing up your ornaments, I hope you’ll find a few minutes to write your own letter.
Next year, and every year after that, when you open and read these handwritten notes, I know you’ll be as blessed as I have been. And I hope you’ll be reminded of just how good and how faithful our God is.
Christy Wright is the creator of Business Boutique, a Certified Business Coach and a Ramsey Personality with a passion for equipping women with the knowledge and steps they need to successfully run and grow a business. She is the host of the Business Boutique Podcast and her new book, Business Boutique, releases April 2017. You can connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and her website.