Several years ago we began a Christmas tradition in our family. Believing that children are wired for the blessing of their father, I began to write letters of blessing to my children at Christmas. Each of my daughters has a journal that is slowly filling with my Christmas letters to them. On Christmas morning we sit by the fire place and I read each letter aloud. I always cry and my daughters always hug and kiss me and tell me the love me. I dream of a day, Lord willing a long time from now, when I am with Jesus and my daughters, thinking of me on Christmas morning, open their journals and read of their daddy’s love for them. I pray they will always know they received their father’s blessing and as a result are always able to receive God as a good and loving Father. Every gift we give on Christmas morning will fade except this one. I pray that you will find ways unique to your family to bless your children, not with stuff, but with words that will not fade. Here are my letters to my daughters this year.
To Hailey Grace Haynes on Christmas day 2009
My sweet Hailey,
You are ten years old this Christmas. I can hardly believe ten years have gone by since God blessed your mom and me by giving us you. You are a precious gift that I will always cherish, always love, always protect, and always lift up in prayer.
This has been a huge year for you. Fifth grade: the last year of elementary school. I am proud of you in so many ways. I am proud of you for who you are. Hailey, you genuinely love people. Your caring spirit has endeared you to your classmates. This is evidenced by the number of friends you have and their choice to make you a representative on student council. You have a wonderful reputation with people which is important and reflects well on Christ. A reputation that includes being a hard-worker, respectful to your teachers and fellow students, and a person who can be trusted. I see all of this as the work of Jesus in your life. He is making you into the woman he wants you to be and in this way is answering the prayers of your parents.
I love the way you choose to love Jesus by your worship, generosity, compassion, and truly repentant heart. I am more than excited to learn how the Lord will use you for His glory in the days ahead. My prayer for you this year is very simple and very biblical. It is a scripture found in Luke that describes Jesus when he was about your age. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
Lord, help Hailey to continue to increase in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. I love you with all of my heart. Merry Christmas.
To Madelyn Kay Haynes on Christmas day 2009
You are growing so fast. I am afraid that I will blink my eyes and you will be 18. You are seven this Christmas and I really cannot believe it.
This has been a life changing year for you. Just a few months ago you committed your life to Jesus as your Lord. He chose you and you chose him back resulting in a brand new you. Not perfect but forgiven and full of joy knowing that you will walk with Jesus all of your days… and even after that.
It was my honor to baptize you as you confessed to everyone that Jesus Christ is Lord. I am praising God even now that He answered mom’s and my prayers for your salvation.
I want you to know that I an so proud of you Maddie. Not for what you do (which is a lot of great stuff) but more for who you are. I watch you show love to people in many different ways. I especially am proud when I hear you tell mom you love her unsolicited. When you care for your sisters I am blessed. When you give me an unexpected hug I sense a deep love in you that comes only from Jesus. That love manifests in your affection, generosity, and compassion. I am so very proud of who you are.
My blessing for you comes from Romans 12:1-2. I urge you Madelyn not to conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test God’s will. His good, pleasing, and perfect will!
I love you sweet girl. Merry Christmas!
To Eden Katalina Haynes on Christmas day 2009
I thank my God every time I look into your face. You are a picture to me of God’s provision and grace. The Lord named you Eden which means “delight.” You have been just that to your mother and me these past two years or so.
You are two this Christmas. This is a really fun age. You are the first to yell “Daddy!” when I come in from work every night which is a blessing I particularly look forward to on difficult days. You are learning to be a friend, to share, and to be a part of a family. You are an imitator of your sisters which is a good thing.
Just a few weeks ago you made your first public proclamation of the Glory of God. After watching a cartoon version of the angels singing praises at Christ’s birth you decided to offer your own praises. Mom saw you step up on a box while at the store and in your best vibrato sing, “Glory to God in the Highest.” Everyone in the store stopped to watch and listen. Mom was so proud she has already told the story 100 times at least. Eden, may you be known as a praiser of the King, our Lord Jesus.
I am so proud to be your father. You bless me and others in so many ways. I love you.
My blessing for you comes form Psalm 47:6. Eden, may your life sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
Merry Christmas little girl!