256 | A “Christopher Christmas”

December 23, 2012
Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Letter #256: A “Christopher Christmas”


Dear Family,

Merry Christmas to you! Yes, I realize you will receive this long after the holiday has come and gone, but don’t we all know that Jesus’s birth took place in early spring anyway? Look at this Christmas letter as early.

I’ve just completed my ambitious Christmas card project in which I gave out 37 cards to staff members here and to the men who are in the classes I teach, as well as another 140 cards I mailed out. Many thanks go to my incredible parents, who provided the supplies of cardstock, envelopes, pens, and stamps that made it all possible. I’m grateful for their support of me and for the ability I then have to communicate with others. I couldn’t have made 175+ cards, however, without my amazing twin bro, who blesses me each year with his desktop publishing skills. My simple artwork gets scanned and copied, with text artfully added in exactly the way I request, which leaves me with time to personalize each one with my pens. I am incredibly blessed by my family. Thank you.

Thank you to the so many of you who have sent me Christmas cards! It is a real treat to get Christmas cards, and I received lots of greetings via email too. Thank you! I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, that I don’t expect responses to anything I send, and it is truly just my privilege and joy that you read what I write. My only request of any well-meaning friend before I came to prison was just to please read what I write. And I am honored that you read these words. Thank you!

So many of you pray for me as well, which is overwhelming to me. Your friendship, which sees past the failures and flaws to the humbled man who so desperately desires to bring God glory, is the greatest gift to me. Well, I exaggerate. I’ve received some amazing gifts. A car, for example. That was probably the best gift. But your friendship is definitely greater than the pair of Uggs boots I received one year. I made the mistake of wearing them to my real estate office and there learned how very popular they are. For women.

This year, my Gift Expectation Index was quite low, as it should be. After all, I live with the entire alumni of Santa Claus’s Naughty List. See, after he checks it twice for way too many years, he hands the list over to the respective District Attorneys. It makes his Christmas Eve a bit easier: three semi truckloads of coal get dropped off outside the prison just before midnight. At least we have hot water for a couple of weeks.

This year, I hosted Christmas parties for my Business class and Public Speaking class. I’d saved up and brought treats, and we played Pictionary on the dry-erase board in the classroom. I used a deck of actual Pictionary cards a friend had sent me, and the guys loved it, laughing and yelling and competitive to the end.

The Christian Bible Study group that meets in my 360-man unit put on a Christmas dinner with everyone contributing something for a special time of music and fellowship. Unbelievably, though we had a keyboard and guitars, they sang no Christmas carols. (Since I’m no longer playing keyboard for church services, I wasn’t asked to play either.) Even in church services leading up to Christmas, we sang no Christmas carols. (Of course there were none at the Hannukah feast I attended either.)

Finally, this morning the choir was going to lead three carols besides six other worship songs … and I got to be at visit with my parents instead! The absence of Christmas music would normally drive me nuts, but I have my own Christmas music fix: my Community Choir is practicing for a post-Christmas performance, complete with all of my favorite carols, sung the way my brothers and I used to sing them.

So, yes, my Christmas is awesome this year, as my parents are here for a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday visit and are staying for another visit with me on Christmas Day! My dad acts like my mom forces him to visit, because he doesn’t want me to think they’re spoiling me. Spoiled?!? Of course!