Friday, December 17, 2010

Gratitude in hard times

I am not sure how to feel this time of year when I know that so many people are suffering. I guess the time of year really doesn't matter, except it tends to magnify the sad situations. I heard today of the death of a cousin's father, quite unexpectedly. I saw a friend at the store who just lost her mother. I am helping collect donations for a young family that is fighting cancer. The list this year could go on and on. And that isn't even counting the depressed economic times that we are having in our country. Somehow it takes the spark out of all the Christmas shopping "buzz". The gifts I have bought this year are mostly practical and useful. The exception is for the grandchildren, but I hope to help them have a magical Christmas, so socks and clothes just didn't seem appropriate.
Last night at supper, my husband mentioned to me that he hoped that I had not gotten him any gifts for Christmas. Over the years we have rarely exchanged presents on Christmas. Many times we felt that the focus should be on others (mostly family), and we haven't really had a need for gifts. Lately, we have been in the position where we have very few wants or needs. Our lives have indeed been blessed. Anyway, back to the conversation. . . I told him that I hadn't yet gotten him anything, and he offered up a wonderful suggestion. He wants to take the money that we might have spent on each other and help someone in need. I loved his idea. How better to share our bounty this time of year than to help someone else. I have been thinking about this opportunity all day. He wanted to give the entire amount to the family struggling with cancer. I think I will suggest that we split it up between several causes. I feel challenged to be the best steward of this money that I can be. This all makes me deeply appreciate the gifts that we have in our life. Our family is healthy and close. We both have jobs with security and benefits. We have a cozy warm home and vehicles in good running condition. We live in a caring community and a country where freedom and liberty are valued. I could keep going about the blessings in our life, but you get the idea. Gratitude. . . It is not so much about what you have or don't have, it is how you view life and the gifts given to you.

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