The Privileged Life: Handwritten Letters

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!” Galatians 6:10-11

When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter or note? In our digital world, we communicate now much more readily with a quick text, social media photo caption, elaborate email, and sometimes no more than an emoji! 

Handwriting itself is becoming a forgotten art. Many elementary schools no longer teach cursive writing but instead put their students as young as possible onto a keyboard. Long gone are the days of beautiful curling script created with a pen.

Writing by hand, however, is an active exercise that builds neural pathways in our brains much in the same manner as creating music does.* It stimulates brain cells in ways that pounding on a keyboard won’t. We’re sadly neglecting this process now. Few and far between are the handwritten envelopes in our mailboxes.

There’s something extraordinary, then, when we either send or receive a hand-penned letter. I spoke with an older friend a few nights ago on this subject. While cleaning out a box, she had run across a letter from her childhood schoolteacher, someone who had thanked her for a corsage and said my friend was growing up as a “good little girl.” This letter had remained in her keepsakes all those years for the inspiration it offered her.

I still have letters from college days sent by friends and family back home (some of the old stamps on them are only 10 cents). And I still keep special thank-you notes when the words are uplifting…they serve as reminders that my relationship with each sender is a treasure. 

God still communicates with us, too, in His written word. He breathes His thoughts, commands, and promises to us in Scripture, handwritten centuries ago. I praise Him for raising up faithful people who copied verses page by page, word by word, laboriously by hand (long before computers) so that we would be blessed today by God’s messages to us. What a privilege!

Take time today to jot a note to someone who would love to hear from you. Use this opportunity to put down on paper words of encouragement and praise. Don’t have nice stationery? Run by the dollar store and pick up a pack of notes…no one cares how expensive your paper looks if the words are valuable. Can’t write neatly or in cursive? Just do your best to make it legible. Even a piece of notebook paper becomes lovely with a message written from the heart…surrounded by doodled hearts….

Use this privilege to bring joy to someone else either by mail or hand delivery. Let your written words be a gift that lifts someone else up today!

Father God, Author of Scripture, thank You today for the gift of writing. Through Your Holy Spirit, remind us of those who need to hear from us. Let our words be sweet, thoughtful, selfless, and uplifting. Make our letters like those of the apostle Paul to his protégé Timothy—full of grace, encouragement, and thankfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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