Letters From The Past

December 14, 2017
Volume 21, Number 42

The Christmas season was a magical time for me. Growing up as a son of a coal miner in southeastern Kentucky, we had enough but we didn’t have a lot extra. For a few years I wrote letters to Santa Claus, and then listened daily to the local radio station to hear Santa read my letter. Eventually my letter was read for all to hear.

R.L. Ripples (a pseudonym) hosts a Twitter feed called “Tweets Of Old”. Currently he’s tweeting excerpts of letters to Santa written by children from a hundred or more years ago. The letters, to say the least, are revealing.

Luis, for example, wrote from Indiana in 1906: “Dear Santa, I want a circular saw, 24 linen handkerchiefs, and some bananas. Don’t fall down the chimney like you did last year.” Elsie “lovingly” wrote from Virginia in 1904, “Dear Santa, I am a stranger in a strange land. Please bring me the doll that Auntie took from me, an automobile to go back to Ohio.”

Ruth wrote from New York in 1902: “Dear Santa, please bring me a bottle of clogn (sic) and a doll. Last year you brought me a bowlegged doll. I don’t want a bowlegged doll.” Harriette from Nebraska wrote in 1901: “Dear Santee, Please ask God to give us back our mamma and you can give our presents to somebody else. We just only want her.”

I suspect you’ll agree with me in saying these letters are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Children have a way of seeing things that we tend to lose with age.

As I read these letters I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:14. His disciples had tried to send away mothers who had brought their children for Jesus’ prayers; He rebuked them with this: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” In the children’s letters we see simplicity, honesty, and a desire for what is right. Those are traits Jesus values.

I also think of Paul’s admonition in one of his own letters: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Life in the previous century was much simpler, and wants were fewer. With growing prosperity and a profusion of gadgets, people today tend to “need” things that only make life more complicated.

The most revealing letter, however, is surely the “letter” from God: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed …” (Romans 1:16,17).

Righteousness – now there’s a request that should be at the top of everyone’s wish list!

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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