One of the best things I did over my holidays was not write my Christmas letter or bake (Lord knows!) or shop or wrap my presents with curly cues. It was something entirely different.

You see, I’m reading a book by James MacDonald called Seven Words to Change Your Family. The word that stopped me in my tracks was honor, as in “…honor your father and mother…”. Now, I don’t consider myself to be a horrible kid or anything but I definitely carry my share of guilt for not initiating in my relationships with my parents near enough. So when James MacDonald suggested a really tangible way to honor my parents, I took him up on it.

His suggestion was to write each parent a tribute letter (in my case that would be four letters…one to my mother, one to my father, one to my step-mother, and one to my step-father).I took on the challenge by praying for memories to surface, and I jotted down things I loved and respected about each one of them.I started off each one with a funny memory or two, then listed off things I learned from each of them, ending with my gratitude for their sacrifices to raise me well (though divorce can be a difficult thing for a child, and I don’t discount that for one moment, I have to admit that writing all of these letters made me grateful for four parents…most people get only two!).

Then after I wrote each letter, I planned to give them as part of their Christmas gifts when I saw them over the holidays. Except the Holy Spirit wanted me to take it a step further though, as He tends to do. He nudged me to read the letters outloud to each one of them, no matter who else might be in the room. Whoa. Really, Lord??

So that’s what I did.Right before present-opening time, I read the letters outloud to my parents (at our two family gatherings) and I felt the smile of God on this act of obedience.

When one of my kid brothers’ heard I did this, he sarcastically thanked me…”I just got mom a composter…” I pointed out that he’s twenty-four and it took me forty years to get around to doing this. Much too long, I’m afraid.

So, if you’re looking for a way to bring honor to the people in your life (parents or otherwise) who have meant something to you along the way, may I suggest taking a few minutes to write a note of thanks for all they’ve done for you. You just might make someone’s day.