Charlotte and Emmet received a reminder of the best Christmas ever.
My Dear Children,
As you read this letter on Christmas Day, it will be the first time we have been apart at this special season. I will be having Christmas dinner with the family of one of my business associates, Mr. Michaels. They are fine people, and I understand we will be having turkey and dressing just like Mom always fixes at home for Christmas dinner. Still, I’m really going to miss each one of you. I wish this special assignment with my company didn’t mean having to be away from home. I’m thinking back today of the many wonderful Christmases of years past and of God’s love for all of us.
Charlotte, you were our first baby, and I remember the Christmas when you were nine months old. You wrinkled up your nose and stared at that funny old gentleman dressed in red with the furry white beard. He sure didn’t look like your daddy or anyone else you knew and loved, but he had a jolly laugh—and you finally gave a tentative giggle back. When he gave you a cookie as you sat on his knee, you were completely won over.
Then, a couple of Christmases later, your baby brother, Emmett, sat under the Christmas tree with you. Emmett, how we laughed as you tried to pull all the bows and ribbons off the packages. Of course Charlotte was more intent on peeking inside; by then she knew the real prize lay beyond the brightly colored wrapping. How eager she was to find out what was in each box!
Then Charlotte, when you were five, I thought my heart would burst with pride. On Christmas night you played the part of Mary in the Sunday school Christmas program. We thought you might get stage fright when you saw all those people sitting out in the auditorium, because it was a full house. But you didn’t even look in their direction, just marched right up there like a veteran performer. You looked so sweet in the scene where the angel spoke to you to tell you that you’d be the mother of God’s Son—Jesus.
The next Christmas, Emmett, you were a shepherd boy. I’ll never forget how serious you looked in your brown robe and little orange hood tied around your face. You had a stuffed white lamb to carry, but you ended up dragging him across the platform by one ear. You stole the hearts of the audience when you stepped out to the mic and sang, “I wish I could have been a shepherd, watching my flocks by night . . .”
Yet, all the memories of those Christmases fade by comparison to the joy that flooded your mother’s and my hearts the Christmas when you both knelt and gave your hearts to Jesus. I remember the tears that flowed down your cheeks, Charlotte, as you prayed at the altar after the Christmas message. I was there, and so was your mother, to pray with you. We saw the flood of joy cross your face as you reached out to Jesus and He came into your heart.
Emmett, when Charlotte told you how happy she was and how Jesus wanted to come into your heart too, you were so open, so receptive. You knelt by your bed and felt that instantaneous change as God saved you too. Your mom and I will never forget the joy we felt when we realized that both of you had given your hearts to God. Christmas was so meaningful that year—God’s gift of love seemed especially real and precious to each of us.
Now, I don’t want you to be sad because I’m not with you this Christmas. The same God who put the wonder in all our great Christmases together in the past is with you this year too. And He’s also with me. Even though half a world separates your daddy from you at this special holiday season, God’s love goes around the whole wide world, and that brings us together in Him.
Stop to think, Emmett and Charlotte, God loves His Son, just like I love you. Yet on that first Christmas, He sent His Son to be born as a little baby here on earth. I don’t like being away from you, and I’m sure God up in Heaven didn’t like to be separated from His only Son either. He did it because He loves you and me so much.
Treasure His love within your hearts, my children. Keep Him with you always. Like the Christmas presents you unwrap today—the glittering paper is only tossed away; it’s what is on the inside that counts. God’s love counts for eternity—forever and ever and ever.
Someday that love within your hearts will respond to the heavenly call and our family will all be together with Him.
Until we meet again,
Your loving dad