Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Card Prayers

One lost a mother. One lost a son. One lost a husband.

Too many to count have lost jobs.

This morning I sent out Christmas cards, thankful to finally get them out of my house and into the hands of people who have not heard from me in a couple of years.

But as I was addressing the cards this past weekend, I was struck by how many people on my list have gone through really hard things recently. Loss. Disappointment. Great hardship.

My heart aches for all the grief that’s out there, because I know that grief seems especially close at this time of year. Even long-held grief rears its ugly head and reminds you of the empty place at the dinner table or the days spent in the hospital at just this time of year.

Grief is especially active right now.

As I stuffed envelopes I found myself praying for my friends, especially those who have suffered this past year, losing loved ones and jobs.

And I wondered, yet for the thousandth time, why me?

Why am I blessed with healthy children? Why do I have a happy marriage? Why are we able to stay in our home and dodge the economic bullets that seem to have ravaged so many people these days?

I’ll admit, it is the question on my mind so often—why me? Why us? Why, Lord?

It’s not that we’re smarter, wiser, more astute than others. It’s certainly not that we’re kinder, more generous, or more loving (if you think that, you obviously weren't at our Christmas card photo shoot). Our being “spared,” for now, has nothing to do with us or the way we live or the way we act at all.

We can’t bring blessing upon ourselves.

Old Testament prophets knew that blessings come from the hand of God. Job knew it too, and trusted it completely. As far as I know, Lot did not blame God when he lost everything, including his wife.

So if this blessed life that I have been given is not at all from my own hand, I must simply accept it with a heart filled with gratitude.

This year my prayer has been that in every Christmas light (even the ones that keep going out in front of my house!), in every glistening ornament, in every flickering candle flame I would see God for who He is—the giver of every good gift.

And if you are grieving this year, I am praying that you will be able to see Him too.

Linking this post to Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped. Head over there to read more.

Photo credit #1, #2.



  1. Oh Shelly, that's a really lovely post. I struggle with the same thoughts too. But I suspect your enormously positive spirit is partly to do with your feeling that you sail through life....could that be true?


  2. Such a sweet thought, Sarah, but I doubt it. :)

  3. Beautifully put. I loved the Christmas card post. Thanks for the tip on the website - will have to try it out for next year as this year is done.

  4. It is overwhelming at times . . . the needs around us and our sphere of friends has grown with blogging . . . and many in my blogging world, too, are grieving. I join you in prayer.


  5. What an incredibly beautiful and sweet post!

  6. For all the years that we are feeling blessed may we be grateful and when we are grieving as we all will be at sometime in our lives, let us be thankful for all the small mercies of the Lord and the kindness of others. Thanks Shelly for an wonderful blog!

  7. My cousin Beverly sent me over. What a lovely lovely post. I may share this with my Bible Study girls this year...I don't know you, but I feel that we are kindred spirits. Blessings to you and yours and may you feel the warm embrace of His unending joy!

  8. One of your best posts, Shel. The grief never leaves the heart.

    FYI, I have a friend who saves her Christmas cards and pulls out one every day throughout the year so she can pray for that specific person.

  9. You touched my heart with this one,Shelly. Often overwhelmed with some version of "survivor's guilt", too - and directing me back to the Word with it is just what I needed. Lifting up the grieving hearts, too.

  10. Linked from Sandy's. I could relate to this post. We have some wonderful things going on in our family, too. Others we know are struggling with some really tough issues - health, addiction, job loss, etc. Why are we spared? We don't know the answer to a lot of these questions. I think gratitude is one proper response though, and then what you are doing - encouraging others. That captures the essence of the season, as it should be. Good job and good post. My first visit here, but I can tell you have a good blog. wb

  11. Shelly,

    As I addressed Christmas cards, I thought about how few we have been receiving this year.

    Why? Money is tight for many of our friends, and cards are an extra. We know a lot of people who are struggling.

    Thanks for your words today.

  12. Shelly, this is lovely. I'm glad you linked to it in your 2011 recap because I'd missed it.

    I haven't sent my Christmas cards yet (YES, I KNOW it's almost January!), but I am going to do as you did - and pray for my friends as I address those (LATE) envelopes.