Sometimes we wait too late to say, "I love you," or "please forgive me," or "Thank you." William Stedger was a businessman who experienced a shattering emotional breakdown. His energies were depleted. He was depressed. He sought help but still did not progress. One day an insightful friend asked him, 'When was the last time you singled out one of your acquaintances who has been gracious to you and expressed appreciation to him?" That question annoyed him at first, but he went home that evening and in the isolation of his living room he selected some stationery and, for the first time in two decades, he remembered a high school English teacher. He had not even thought of her in years, but she had taken an interest in him. She had helped him to discover a love for poetry he didn't know he had. She imagined that he might be worth something after all. He wrote her a simple letter expressing his gratitude.
Three days later a letter came from her. In the tremulous handwriting of a long retired teacher she wrote, "My eyes are blinded with tears as I write. You are the first student in all my career who has ever written me a letter to express thanks." She continued, "I will keep it as long as I live." With her response to this letter in mind, he thought of someone else. And so he wrote another letter and another. He didn't even notice when he got well, as he discovered the joy of expressing his love and gratitude to others. This Christmas accept the lesson of Mr. Stedger as a personal challenge. Think of someone who has been gracious to you, perhaps someone you have never responded to before, and buy him a little gift or card to express your appreciation for whatever it was he did. Then see if this Christmas doesn't take on a littl ebirghter luster.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship