You know whatís a real gem? Getting a letter in the mail. Seeing that envelope with a hand written address, that for once isnít a bill or an advertisement; what a joy! When you open it up, and you see a card or a note someone spent time preparing? What a wonder! Then, you read it and itís handwritten, and personal? What a gift! There isnít anything quite like a hand written note.

You know, I received a letter once when I was a boy. The date was December 26th, 1997, and I was 9 years old at the time. I still have the letter in my office as a matter of fact, the very first one of its kind I ever received. It sits on a shelf just a few steps away from my desk. Itís kind of hidden behind a stack of big heavy books and various folders. I just pulled it out as I was thinking about preparing this article. When I did, a big ball of dust fell off its pages. But donít be confused, it doesnít collect dust because itís not a treasure. In fact, I have it so close by my desk because I look up at it from time to time and it reminds me of its content.

You see this letter was and is remarkable. Itís full of warm thoughts and affection. Its author wrote it as a testament of compassion. It speaks of how I am loved and cared for in ways I didnít grasp at nine and I donít think I fully grasp todayÖsome twenty plus years later. Along with compassionate love though, the author also wrote it as an encouragement to live right and well, in a way that reflected his best hopes for me.

But the most interesting part of this letter is, while I have a copy, it isnít the original, and in fact it wasnít even really written about me. This letter, or book of letters, was written about Jesus. From its first ďIn the beginning,Ē to its last ďAmen.Ē Itís all about him and his Father. And honestly, I wouldnít have it any other way. Because if the Bible was written about me, it would be full of poor choices, unrighteousness, and sin. But because itís about him, itís full of mercy and truth and redemption. Man, what a letter!

Because itís about Him, I know how much I am indeed loved and cared for by its author, God. Because in its pages, I hear an account of love that even Shakespeare couldnít pen. A story about Godís Son, who died on a cross, and rose to eternal life and through believing in Him, ď(I) might not perish but have eternal life.Ē (John 3:16)

You may have noticed I said the immensely personal and powerful letter is just a copy. Because while God wrote it with me in mind, he wrote it with you in mind as well, and anyone else who's reading this right now. You may have a collection of love notes from your bride, or in todayís time a text or two that you look back on and smile, but let me tell you this - - - None of these compare to the wonderful love written on every page of Godís word. Donít miss out on the treasure inside, itíll change your life like it did mine all those years ago.

With that in mind, donít miss out on the wonderful opportunities we have this month to study the Bible together! Join us for our Wednesday Night Prayer meeting at 7:15 this month as we study ďThanksgiving: A How ToĒ on the virtue of biblical thanksgiving. Of course be sure to come to our Wednesday Night Suppers at 5:30, (Free, with Donations Accepted!) with children and youth ministries at 6:30. And as we near Thanksgiving, remember to join us for our special Joint Service with Oak Hill United Methodist on the 24th at 6:30 pm, and our Thanksgiving Eve Service at 6:15 pm here at Starnes Cove!

Come together with us as we treasure Godís Word and each other.

Still reading after all these years, William






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