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Monday, December 21, 2015

Letters To A Prison Inmate: Part 1

Earlier this year, I learned that a member of my extended family was in jail. After a few months, another family member asked me to write to him. I've never really been close to him, so it felt strange to write him a letter. Eventually, I decided that, were the situation reversed, I'd appreciate receiving letters from anyone, regardless of our previous level of rapport. So I started writing to him.

As this month's letter deals with the topic of Christmas, the holiday season, and where I seem to be at this year, I thought I would share a portion of it with you.

Last year's Dalek-themed Christmas Tree

Dear ______,

Do you ever feel as if time is speeding past you? Last Friday I attended a midweek worship service, and saw blue cloths draped over the altar and the lecterns. Amid all the hubbub of everyday life, we missed out on several weeks of services. The angel embroidered on those blue cloths shook me. I then noticed the Christmas tree, and the Advent wreath and candles, reminded myself it was mid-December, and wondered: where have I been?

It’s not as if I was oblivious to the Christmas season. My wife and I went shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, and have since procured more presents online. We’ve listened to holiday music, driven around to see all the lights and decorations, and watched a Christmas movie. But my wife has been busy at work, and gone away on travel several times, so we haven’t set up a tree or decorated the house. On one level, I knew it was Christmas time. On another, I was oblivious. Strange, eh?

Speaking of Christmas seasons, one memory I hold dear is the Christmas Eve you and your wife invited us over on Christmas Eve. Your wife made us a multi-ethnic holiday meal, with different meats and traditional side dishes, as well as tamales, rice, and beans. We enjoyed sharing food, conversation, and presents with you and your family that evening. Thanks again for including us.

In case you're wondering, I wasn't overpraising that night we spent with this man and his family. As his invitation came at a time of great personal loss, his efforts really meant a lot. But then, including others in our lives, either over meals, or simply through a letter, can often mean more to them than we could ever imagine.

Dragon Dave

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