There is nothing quite like the excitement of opening the mailbox to find our name and address hand-written on an envelope. It’s even more thrilling when we recognize the penmanship as that of a dear friend or cherished loved-one. The bills and the junk mail are quickly sifted to the bottom of the pile as we eagerly open that one special piece.
Why do we react so joyfully to a card or letter? There are most likely three reasons for our response.
Letters are personal
A handwritten letter isn’t the product of a big, automated mailing list. Someone was thinking of us specifically and affectionately. We are endeared to that person enough that they took the time to create a permanent record for us to keep as long as we wish. If we’re wise, we’ll put them all in a special place. Each word says– you are known, you are important, and you are loved.
Letters carry joy
With some exceptions, the sentiment of personal cards or letters is of love or friendship, concern, praise, gratitude, or encouragement. You could be the recipient of a letter from a life-long friend at Christmas, a birthday card from Grandma, or some camp mail from Mom or Dad to tell you they are proud of you, they love and miss you, and can’t wait to see you again. We’re almost always blessed by love and joy in a personal letter and they just make us feel great!
Let’s pause here to open our hearts and minds before we get to the third and most important reason we love letters so much.
Open your Bible and read an excerpt from one of Paul’s letters– 2 Thessalonians 2:13 to 3:5.
Letters remind us of the greatest letters that exist
When we receive a written word of concern, gratitude, love, or encouragement, we get a taste of something worth treasuring. The joy a letter elicits is an echo of a much greater gift that we were designed to know– the sweet happiness that a relationship with Jesus will bring. And we experience so much of our friendship with Him by way of letters.
Did you realize that 21 of the 27 books of the New Testament are letters?
That’s 21 letters written by men to individuals, specific churches, and the church at-large. Each was divinely authored by the Holy Spirit with the intention of making known the risen Christ. They encourage us to live in a Christian manner in all circumstances. The letters of the New Testament teach a broad range of subjects including the eternal importance of faith in Jesus, rejection of and forgiveness for sin, steadfastness in suffering, guidance for healthy relationships, and the importance for unity in the church. They’re loaded with instruction for finding the ultimate joy; a life lived in a right-relationship with God, predicated on salvation by grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. God loves us and wants us to be happy! So, He sent us letters to tell us so.
There can be no greater joy and we should be excited to share it. But, if your excitement isn’t reason enough, consider this: Hebrews 3:13 says we should share the encouragement God gives us for a specific reason.
“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Perhaps our letters can be more than just a source of joy. Our gratitude and encouragement might be the bit of Truth that is needed to help a friend or family member avoid the hardness of heart that comes from sin. Our heartfelt letter of thanks or congratulations might be a powerful defense against a seed of doubt that has been growing in someone’s heart. What a beautiful opportunity!
FAMILY IMPACT ACTIVITY:
In this Family Impact Activity, you’ll discuss the importance of letters with your child and bless someone with a handwritten note. Why? Because Mail Call is one of the most thrilling parts of camp! We know the joy and excitement that a letter brings, and we have an amazing opportunity to point someone to Jesus and remind them they are known, they are important, and they are loved.
Before you begin, take time to surprise your child with a creatively delivered note of encouragement. This will help them get excited about making someone else feel special. You might let them discover the note as the commencement to this Family Impact Activity.
Watch the video of Staci and Alex sharing some of their favorite mail and encouraging others! (This may provide some ideas for you to deliver a note to your child.) You can find the video at mytruegirl.com/camp.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- A letter, card, or message writing materials
There are two goals during this family impact activity:
- The first is for you and your child to spend time together reflecting on the joy of the letters you’ve received. They could be the 21 letters in the New Testament or letters from friends and relatives. No matter the sender, it’s important to recognize that they tell us we are known and we are loved.
- The second goal is to bless someone with a note of gratitude or encouragement. It could be a sticky-note, a text, an email, or a letter sent through the mail. Your words will have impact based on the amount of thought, time, and effort you invest. (Post photos on social media, being sure to tag Born to be Brave (Facebook) and True Girl (Facebook or Instagram) or email us a photo of you with permission to share it on our social media pages. Be sure you’re wearing your camp shirt and/or doing one of the Camp Staycation Family Impact Activities. You will be entered to win our OOEY GOOEY ULTIMATE GRAHAM PRIZE worth over $500.
Start by sharing your thoughts about any meaningful letters you have received. At an appropriate time, open your Bibles and consider the letters God has sent to us and how precious of a gift they are. Ponder how getting a letter of encouragement is a taste of how we should feel when we read the Bible. Finally, talk about how important it is to pass on encouragement by writing letters to one another.
Open your Bible and read Hebrews 3:13. Consider creative ways to live this out today by writing a note to someone.
ASK YOUR CHILD:
- How does it feel to receive a handwritten letter, note, or card? Does it make you feel important? Loved?
- Do you think it’s an important fact that 21 of the 27 letters of the New Testament are legitimate letters? Does God have an important message He wants us to receive? Do you think He wants us to feel those same feelings about His message?
- What do you think He wants us to know?
- Who in your life could use a note of encouragement?
Share the joy! It’s now time to send someone a note of gratitude, encouragement, love, or a simple hello. Perhaps you can thank a teacher or youth group leader, encourage someone who is battling an illness, or drop a line to a soldier overseas or a lonely neighbor down the street. The fact that you care enough to send a handwritten message will brighten their day and may just be the gesture they need to know God is listening.
As always, end your Camp Staycation Family Impact Activity in prayer. Thank the Lord for his letters to you. Ask Him to help you and your child hear from Him as you look for more time to spend in His Word. Ask him to give you and your child the name of someone that needs to hear from Him through you. Ask Him to give you the words that they need to hear. When He gives you a name of someone, spend time praying for them before putting pen to paper.
Mark your calendar for July 24th for our Camp Staycation Online Family Campfire! Registration is NOW OPEN, and you won’t want to miss this great event for your entire family! Each week, we’ll release another Family Impact Activity over on the Camp Staycation homepage so your crew can make the most of this summer at home.