Dad’s Letter

It’s Christmas time – and you know, this time of year our minds are focused so much on the gifts we need to ‘buy’ for the ones we love. Well, in light of that may I share something that happened not too long ago?

I came home from work after a busy day. And I went upstairs and dropped my stuff – and then I noticed on my pillow a note, and it was written on that kind of paper, that unique kind of paper, that told me it came from my youngest daughter. I opened it up, and sure enough, it was a note from Shaina.

It said, “Dear Daddy, I miss you. I’m having fun here at school … Can I go to Santa’s secret shop. You’re gone too much. You are the best daddy in the whole world. Love, Shaina.”

Oh – oh, you talk about a payday – I loved it! I called her to me, knelt down on her level, and thanked her for the wonderful note. When I told her I loved her too, she threw her arms around my neck and just hugged me tight. It was a wonderful and a tender moment.

Now, a few days later I was with a group of teenagers.

We were chatting casually when, out of genuine curiosity, I asked them, “If you could have anything for Christmas and money was not a consideration, what would it be?”

Well, I have to confess here my shallowness. I expected them to start rambling off all these expensive toys that they would like to have. And to be honest, a few of them did mention some toys they’d like to have. But many, if not most of them, wanted such things as – their families home for the holidays; they wanted to spend time with their families and share experiences with their loved ones. I was surprised by that; I was impressed by that.

One young woman’s answer stood out in particular. She’s a quiet pretty young woman.

In response to the question, she said, “Well, I’d want some money for Christmas, and then I’d want a letter from my dad.”

Well, the ‘money’ answer I expected, but the ‘letter from dad’ – I was taken back by that, and I asked her why she would want that. I mean, I figured of all things that a teenager would want least from her parents, a sentimental letter would be that last thing.

Well, she explained that her father, at least once a year, writes her a letter in which he opens his heart, and tells her that he loves her. The letters have become a cherished tradition for her. In them, Dad bears his testimony of faith in the Lord, shares the experiences of his own life, and gives her guidance, and tells her what he expects from her.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“You mean to tell me, of all the things you could have, you would most want a letter from your dad?”

“Yes,” she said, and she meant it!

You know something? Maybe our loved ones really don’t want the gifts that come out of stores this year as much as they want the gifts that come out of the heart – the gifts of memories.

Now, as a related thought, it was recently explained to me what ‘W W J D’ meant. I had never heard that before. It means ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ Well, may I suggest something new for Christmas this year? How about ‘W.W.J.G.’? – ‘What Would Jesus Give?

A very Merry Christmas to you.

A special thanks to Glenn Rawson for sharing this great story with us.

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If you would permit me, may I quote?
“…And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
Those words were not rhetoric for a speech for the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Of those 56 men who signed it, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died; twelve had their homes sacked, looted, and occupied by the enemy.
For example, Thomas Nelson Jr. at the Battle of Yorktown had his home taken over by the British General Cornwallis. Nelson quietly urged General Washington to open fire on the home anyway. It was destroyed. Nelson died a pauper.
Nine of the signers died in that war, and two lost their sons to it.
Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas. He died in rags.
Thomas KcKeen was forced to move his family five times in five months to hide from his enemies. While his family hid from the British in abject poverty, McKeen served in Congress without pay – oh, for men like that today!
Francis Lewis’ home and possessions were seized, and his wife imprisoned where she died a short time later.
And perhaps the most touching story of all is of the signer John Hart, who was driven from his wife’s bedside as she lay dying. Their thirteen children had to flee for their lives as well. For over a year Hart lived in caves and in the forest. After the surrender, he returned to find his wife dead, his children gone – thirteen children, and every one of them vanished! John Hart died a few weeks later of a broken heart.” (Lund, The Freedom Factor, Deseret Book, 1987, p. 101)
And there were more – more stories of sacrifice and pain than I have time to tell.
I believe, my dear friends, that if the opportunity was given to us to face each of them and ask them if the price they paid was worth it, I believe there would be a unanimous and a resounding “Yes.”
It has been said that the single most important word in the English language is “Remember.” Oh, may God grant that every citizen in America will never forget the price that has been paid for our freedom.

From the notes and research of Glenn Rawson – July 1998

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