Thursday, December 17, 2009

Writing Hope at Christmas

Thursdays - Devotions for Writers

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

This Bible verse has been my life-line for many years.

Hope.

What a powerful word.

During Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the hope He brought to the world.

Christmas should be a time of merriment and cheer, but for some it’s a time of loneliness, grieving, and struggles with relationships, finances, or health issues.

I’ve experienced two holiday seasons that were difficult for me. The first was my first Christmas as a divorced person and not being able to spend all of the time with my kids. The second came after I remarried and we struggled with the death of my 19 year-old daughter due to a freak a freak car accident. Both times I was blessed with wonderful friends who surrounded me with love and support. They reminded me there was hope.

Perhaps someone you know is struggling. Others may desire to say something encouraging, but they just don’t know what to say, so they say nothing at all . . . But as writers, we have a gift for putting words together. We have something that we can offer to those who need hope.

I send out an annual Christmas letter with pictures to about eighty friends and family members across the country. For some, this is the only time we communicate. This year I wrote about courage, what it takes to follow our dreams and God’s calling in our lives, and relayed how family members have drawn upon that very courage this past year. I wanted to encourage others to pursue their own dreams.

Before sending it out, I asked my husband, “Does this sound preachy?”

He assured me it wasn’t offensive in any way.

As soon as our letters were in the mail, we received one from friends in another state. It relayed that after 30 years, the husband was laid off with no hope of being called back to the job. Devastated, they want God to show them a “plan.”

They included the husband’s current e-mail address, so I sent a note with encouraging words. I received a response the same day, expressing appreciation, saying that he’d read the e-mail out loud to the rest of the family. The Christmas letter that I feared might be taken as “preachy” meant a great deal to him. After reading it, he told his wife it was exactly what he needed at the time.

My vision blurred as I read . . .

Fellow writers . . . we have opportunities all around us to bring words of encouragement and hope this Christmas.

A note, card, or e-mail is something tangible that a person can read over and over when needed.

Use your gift for the written word – and help bring hope this Christmas.

Dawn

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