It is that season again, and I feel like I write the same blog post every year, but as Peter said to the church in 2 Peter 1:12:
12 So I’ll keep reminding you about these things, although you already know them and stand secure in the truth you have. 2 Peter 1:12 Common English Bible. (2011). Nashville, TN: Common English Bible.
This was grandfather, gray haired Peter – he had lived a lot of life – there was a lot of good, bad and ugly he had experienced. Peter was trying tell those to whom he is writing there are some things he will say over and over because they are so important.
Writing a letter to yourself at this time of year can be one those most important things you can do each year, and I will keep reminding my friends of it every year. Again, nothing magical in the letter, but there is room for the Spirit to move as you write, think and examine that will open up doors of clarity and grace.
Here are the basics of how you do it:
First and foremost: You will need time alone and apart to do this work. You will need to create at least 45 minutes to an hour to sit down and reflect and write.
Start this way: Dear (????) – use whatever name that people use that are close to you to speak truth to you. My grandfather and my dad both would call me “son” when they wanted to get through to me. So I might start the letter, “Dear son,” because this captures that tone of, “I love you but let’s get down to business”
From there, let you mind and heart take the lead. Examine the past year. Look ahead to the next. Give advice and make sure you talk about the big rocks of the coming year.
Again, you might be going: this is crazy. I would say if you have not tried this before, then try it this year. For the record: I have not had anyone that has tried it come back and say, that was a waste of my time.
Another thing that helps bring focus to this activity is this: What word or even phrase is going to be your word/phrase for the year. The other day I was coming in the house and it hit me like a ton of bricks what my word was to be for 2020. It was so obvious. So I will start my letter this year with that word and write about how I fully live into that word.
So your letter can be what you need it to be. Mine usually has reminders, points that I need to hear said in very direct ways, advice, inside jokes and goals all mixed together. Once you start writing one, you will see what I mean.
Again, writing it, and taking the time the examine is where you will find the goodness.
Try it and send me a message to what you learned. Or let me know how I could pray for you as you live into your word. Send me message and tell your reactions or anything else you think would be helpful.
Happy writing and reflecting.
To get you started, let me leave you with this Henry David Thoreau quote:
Most people lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
Reflect and write so that your song is heard. Don’t go to the grave with your song still inside of you.
PS: tomorrow – December 29th – I will be preaching on the why behind this activity – in other words why do we need to stop and be intentional about the way we live. Services are 9:00 am (traditional) and 11:15 am (contemporary) @ 306 North Main Street in Winchester, KY.