What’s the best way of ending a letter to a Christian friend? I confess that my standard greeting is the simple ‘with all good wishes’. True, in certain circumstances I alter the greeting. ‘Will all good wishes’, for instance, does not sound right in a letter to somebody who has lost a loved one – on those occasions I normally end ‘warmly yours’.
Recently, however, a colleague challenged the way I sign off letters.
It’s not right for Christians to send best wishes. Christians shouldn’t wish something for another, rather we should ask God to bless our friends.
From that you might assume that she ends her letters with ‘blessings’, ‘many blessings, or even ‘brightest blessings’! But she doesn’t. She simply signs off her letters with ‘regards’. I confess I am unimpressed. ‘Regards’ to my way of thinking is totally devoid of warmth – ‘kind regards would be better’; but neither has any Christian content to it.
So how might we end a letter to a Christian friend? ‘Grace and peace’ is, of course, a standard greeting found in the New Testament – but somehow it does not have a natural feel to it. But then, as far as I am concerned, neither do greetings such as ‘Yours in him’, or ‘Yours because his’; nor indeed do ‘with Christian love’ or ‘with spiritual love’.
So I went on the web and discovered a host of possibilities. Some are Christian variants on ‘with love’, and wish ‘love and light’; ‘love and laughter’; ‘love and peace’; ‘love, peace, joy’; or ‘love, peace, happiness’. Other variants on the love theme include ‘love, hugs, kisses, and may God be with us’; and ‘In Jesus’ love until He comes’. Then there are more up-beat ways of ending a letter: ‘celebrate life!’; ‘cheerfully in Christ’; ‘grace abounds’; or ‘watching God work’. Some are amazingly long, if not long-winded: ‘may this day offer you just what you need in each unfolding moment, God is with you’; or ‘May you get a taste of God’s never dying love for you. May your heart be open to his spiritual and divine gifts. And may you realize that he is very much present with you bat this very moment; or ‘I truly wish that Jesus Almighty comes down on earth today especially to shower blessing and love upon you, like he has for all other beautiful human beings in the world’. The shortest ending I came across was IHG, which I discovered to stand for ‘In his grip’!
Some people sign their letters normally, i.e. as if they were writing to a friend who is not a Christian, but then add a Bible verse after their signature. For instance, they might end with ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures for ever (Psalm 136.1). One of my church members, for instance, always ends her emails with John 3.16 – whether her emails to her friends outside the church also include this verse, I do not know; but if so, then I admire her Christian witness.
There clearly is no one way for Christians to end their letters. Unless I am convinced otherwise, I think that, for most of the time at least, I shall remain with my standard ending: ‘With all good wishes’!