(Shared with Hubby’s permission.)
December 25, 2013
My Dearest Suzan,
As I write this love letter to you we sit viewing the movie The Nativity.
Yes, I am sitting across the desk from you and occasionally I sneak a glimpse of your pretty face and smile in the joy of having spent over thirty-five years as your husband.
You are beautiful. You are talented. You are kind. You are sweet and sexy, too. You are wonderful. You are grace and mercy. You are the best gift God has given me next to that of His Son. Yours is the face that makes me smile when I wake up each day. You are the one that I long to come home to each day. You are amazing. You are a great wife and an adorable woman and an awesome lover. You are the one whose hugs and kisses and smiles and caresses I just cannot get enough of each day. You bring joy to my life. You are the one that I am crazy about and am hopelessly in love with.
Think about it! We have celebrated now, thirty-five Christmases together as husband and wife, partners in life, best friends, and lovers. Amazing, wonderful, humbling.
On June 16, 1978, we began a new life together as all of those things: husband and wife, partners in life, best friends, and lovers. Then on December 25, 1978, we celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple. A lot of people said our marriage would not survive long. Even so, I am eternally grateful to the Lord and you for these last thirty-five years, six months, and nine days with you. I look forward to many more.
For many of the last thirty-five Christmases I have watched the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Honestly, the movie used to make me depressed. Yet, in the last few years, the movie hasn’t depressed me because I have discovered that it is really a wonderful life, especially the life we have and the life we have had together these thirty-five plus years.
Thirty-five years seems like a long time, doesn’t it? Yet, it seems like yesterday when we spent our first Christmas together as husband and wife in a little apartment on Murphy Road. We had a lot of fun there. I am sad to say that I caused you a lot of anguish there and I wish I could do the bad times over and not have hurt you the way I did.
No, the past cannot be undone but God has used those times to help us become instruments of His grace and mercy and love. I am deeply and humbly appreciative of the courage you showed during those years and how you hung on until God moved in my heart to change me. I am convinced without your willingness to love me and to make a lifelong commitment to me in spite of the hurt and pain I caused you, my destiny would have been prison or even worse, an early death. So, thank you again for the love and forgiveness you have given me these thirty-five years plus.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about anyway? It’s about God sending His one and only Son into this world to die for our sins so that we might experience His grace and peace and forgiveness. Christ came to help us find a way out of the mess our sinful choices got us into and to give us a life where we are free to be who He made us to be from the beginning. Our Christmases together are really the story of God’s grace working in us.
These thirty-five Christmases are a testimony to God’s power and grace to change lives.
As the song I listened to today says, that Jesus “was born that we might have life.” We celebrated that first Christmas together knowing that was true and as time has gone by we have learned only Jesus can truly change our hearts and lives and make us useful.
Life seemed to be a lot simpler back then on that first Christmas we had together. We were young and full of hopes and dreams for the future. It was just the two of us then.
We were full of life and passion and out to conquer the world for Jesus. What we have come to learn these last thirty-five Christmases is that God doesn’t want to conquer the world. He wants to change the hearts of those in this world, beginning with our hearts. It’s only then, that God can use us as His instruments of grace to bring about change.
Thirty-five years later, we are just a few years away from age 60, and we have two grown children. We are now grandparents, age seven months. We might even feel kind of old for a moment or two until we hold Sophia in our arms. I don’t know about you but every time I hold Sophia I am amazed at God’s goodness and I feel young again and I know that in many ways our lives are not over, but just beginning.
You see, today, at this point in our lives, it is just only a short moment of time in God’s hand. Think of all the possibilities that God has in store for us in the days ahead. Why are we here at this time in our lives? I don’t have the foggiest idea. Still, God does and we can trust His hand to guide as we follow His leading in our lives.
I don’t know what God has for us here in Nashville. All I know is that God brought us here. I trust that He will make His plans and will known to us in His time. Until He does I am going to trust Him to provide for our needs and to give us wisdom and guidance.
Thirty-five Christmases and counting! What more could you ask for? What could be better than at least thirty-five more Christmases with you? Nothing! Nothing at all!
It is with all of my heart, body, and soul that I love you on our thirty-fifth Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Suzan!