I received a Christmas card from a 90-year-old lady I’ve known over 30 years. She’s a tiny little woman with a lot of spunk. For example, even after battling cancer and undergoing the hard-to-endure treatments for it, she didn't let that and the permanent damage they created stop her from doing the things she loved. After the death of her beloved husband, she continued to live in the home they'd shared and to stay as independent as possible.
Her annual Christmas letter this year began with these words: "As we approach Christmas, let us remember how God has blessed us." Then she wrote about happy times and special people who had ministered to her. She also briefly mentioned several situations that surely had caused her much sadness and frustration, yet she did not whine about any of them, not even the malfunction of her computer and the loss of four years of data or her disappointment over having to miss an event she loved to attend. She spoke highly of the assisted living place where she now resides and expressed gratitude for the good care she receives there.
She concluded her one-page letter with these words: "I hope you have had a wonderful year and this Christmas is one of your happiest. Thank you for your prayers, love, and friendship. I continue to need your prayers."
I didn't immediately re-fold the letter and replace it inside the beautiful card she'd sent. Instead, I re-read it several times, allowing her words and her example to inspire and instruct me. I realized she was living proof that:
- faith in God can remain and will strengthen us even in the most difficult circumstances
- it's possible to remain thankful to God and others even (and especially!) when we're coping with great losses
- prayers--our own and those of others--help sustain us
- our light can (and should!) shine brightly for others even when we may think it's not.
I'm grateful to have received the gift of another letter from her, a gift that provided light for my journey through life.
...let your light shine before people,
so that they can see your good deeds and
give honor to your Father in heaven.
~Jesus (Matthew 5:16, NET)