Earlier this year I read a blog posted by Ann Voskamp on her website, www.aholyexperience.com. In this post she told a story about Maximilian Kolbe.
In 1941 Maximilian Kolbe was a prisoner of Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration camp. Approximately one month before his death he wrote the following quote in a letter to his mother:
“The good God is everywhere and provides for everything with love.”
The story of Maximilian and his concentration camp reality, of his heart belief in God’s goodness and love, of his failure to be warped by evil and darkness, has stayed with me, long after reading this post.
For the past few days I have been at work, writing my family’s Christmas letter. It is a task that falls to me every year, and every year I wonder at how to make it different yet share again the message of Christmas.
This year, as I was thinking, trying to decide what to say, what to write, I remembered the story of Maximilian and immediately wanted to share his quote in our letter. God has faithfully provided for my family this year and Maximilian’s quote seemed the perfect fit.
I started to write of the ways we’ve seen God’s goodness, provision, and love:
The growth of our fledgling business.
The scholarship I was given to attend my first writing conference.
Our girls, healthy, growing, smart, and beautiful.
The joy of being with family for Christmas.
Visits from friends both near and far.
Our nephew Zach, born premature at 24 weeks, now one year old and thriving.
A church community.
My writing group.
Ten years of marriage.
A roof over our heads and food in our bellies.
The list goes on and on. It’s hard to find a way to express what God has done for us in the nutshell way of a Christmas letter, but I trust that our family and friends will understand if our letter runs long this year.
Even now, as I review this list in the writing of this post, my heart swells, tears rim my eyes, and a smile for God’s love cannot be contained.
When I finished my letter I read it word for word. I read it to see, to make sure I had captured what my heart was trying to say.
Displayed in my letter, in my words, in my telling of what God has done, Maximilian’s quote rang true. But my letter needed an ending, a Christmas wish for those I love.
I stopped for a moment to consider the Christmas story and what it means to me, right here, right now, this day, this year.
Goodness, provision, love. In a moment of knowing, of seeing with my heart, I found the words to end my letter.
Goodness, provision, love. This is what I want my friends and family to know this Christmas. I want my loved ones to know what God has done for us, for my family, but more than that, I want them to know what God has done for US, for all of us in the birth of His son Jesus. For it is in the story of Christmas that God displayed his ultimate gesture of goodness, provision and love through the gift of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, born into our world, is the ultimate expression of God’s goodness.
Jesus, and his death on the cross for my sin, for our sin, is the ultimate expression of God’s provision.
Jesus. Born. Living in skin among us. Dying on a cross to save us. Rising again. Alive. Seeking relationship with you, with me. Naming us His beloved. Coming again to rescue His own.
Jesus, is the ultimate expression of God’s love.
I ended my letter with the following words, and my wish is the same for you:
“A good God IS everywhere and provides for everything with love,” just as He did, so many years ago, with the gift of His son Jesus Christ, the ultimate expression of His goodness, provision, and love.
This Christmas, may you see His goodness everywhere.
May you find His provision in everything.
May you know that you are loved.