The beauty of Christmas is that even in the coldest of weather, it can glow warmly within us like a log in the fireplace. The wind won’t blow it out, the snow won’t quench it, and darkness only makes it glow more brightly. Alan Harris (alharris.com) May you all have a glow within this Christmas. The darkest days of the year are behind us; spring can’t be far. Meanwhile, those of us who can will huddle indoors, sip a hot drink, and appreciate others who face the cold and dark daily to keep our world running.
My granddaughter Amanda recently suggested a new practice at our house. Every night at dinner each person would be asked to mention three things they are thankful for.
I had to ponder this a bit. It’s one thing to be thankful for three things and another to be thankful for 3 x 365 ones. And just repeating my favorite three wouldn’t set a good example for the 8-year-old in our house.
Fortunately, before our new custom started, Amanda made a revision. We were all to say one thing that happened today that we were thankful for.
What a difference “happened today” makes.
There’s no longer the pressure to pick something of great importance–like “I’m alive and well” or “I’m a child of God” or “nuclear war didn’t start today.”
And I’m of an age now where many things I am most thankful for are memories.
I’m thankful I had a husband who loved people and delighted in helping them.
Once we went fishing down by the Snake River and so many friends and relatives showed up that Bill hardly had time to get a line in the water. He got two boats launched, a dozen poles ready, rebaited hooks for everyone under 8, and coached each kid with a fish on the line.
And he could not have been happier.
And just writing that brings others to mind. I remember my Dad once–in work boots and coveralls–twirling his way on tiptoe through a living room filled with practicing ballerinas. And my sister Joy baking cookies for the Hospice worker about to visit because she felt a need to cheer up a lady who spent her days visiting dying people.
But memories evoke a range of emotions that I doubt Amanda had them in mind when she said “happened today.”
And–you may not believe this–but some of my days are pretty bland. I’ve already been booed for saying I was glad I got my bathroom cleaned. It was better received when I added that it had been on my to-do list for a week and it was really, really great to get it off.
So I’ve worked at noticing good things more. Last Wednesday I noticed a couple hundred sheep, standing parallel, as still as mushrooms, all facing the newly risen sun.
And, right away, I started seeing cows doing the same thing. Maybe one cow moving, grazing, but all the others just soaking in sunlight. Have I just gone decades not noticing?
And yesterday I had that wonderful experience of seeing pines 60 feet tall with gleaming snow decorating their limbs and creeks running fast between high banks of snow. Much of Idaho is truly a Christmas-card world.
And I’ve gotten to hug and laugh with family members that I don’t get to see nearly often enough.
I can feel that glow within growing–threatened by problems, yes–but growing.
May your coming days be filled with hugs and laughter.