Letter writing – 16 December 2019

A young woman sits at a table busy writing a number of letters. As she concentrates she bends over her writing, so that her face, like the content of the correspondence, is hidden from view. The woman has written many letters, sharing her news with a number of people.

This painting illustrates writing as a common activity, when letters written by hand, sent and received, were the main means of non-spoken communication. No texts, emails, or electronic communications here, her written hand would, most likely, be recognised by those receiving this correspondence. Sending and receiving letters was a key way to maintain relationships.

The letter writing takes place inside, within a room, appropriate as writing begins as an interior experience that shapes a person. Those things conceived within are later represented on paper, just as a painting such as this one was first conceived within the artist before taking form on canvas. In Scripture, the process of writing a letter is a metaphor for being formed by God for service, where those things that God brings about in the core of a person are later lived out and communicated.

This time of year we write cards and letters to send greetings at Christmas. It is one of the few times when we send hand written correspondence to one another. We decide what to share from our lives, public and private, and look forward to even a little information shared with us.

The picture is ‘Young Woman Writing’ by Pierre Bonnard (1908).


A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.

Pam Brown

It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3:3

I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

Francesca Battistelli Write your story