I woke up this morning with a slight headache and not quite enough hours of sleep behind me. Then my four-year-old came in and complained that we couldn’t instantly go to my parent’s house (we are spending Christmas there). And then my eight-year-old wanted to finish the Christmas craft we started yesterday, and my four-year-old wanted her to play with her instead. Grumpiness happened right then and there. We had all gotten out on the wrong side of the bed. And I haven’t even mentioned the poop mess that my cat made during the night that I had to clean up!
Christmas is a very important holiday to our family, so I was feeling even grumpier that everyone was grumpy.
But then I remembered that as quickly as we can turn a good day into a grumpy day, we can turn a grumpy day into a happy one.
While the girls climbed into a hot bath, and I cleaned out the bathroom we three chatted about how there was always something sad or annoying to deal with, that there were so many things that we should be thankful for, and happy about too! And right then and there we started making a list of all of the wonderful things we had.
My four-year-old mentioned that we should be thankful for our cat (whom we love very much), and I laughed a little as I was currently sterilizing the mess she left. She was so right. I am thankful to have a cat and just last night she had come and cuddled with me while I was working, and I thought how lovely it was to have her. I pointed out to Aria that while she was sad that she couldn’t go over to her grandparents house right away, that she could instead focus on how happy she was that she got to go there tonight. She bounced up and down in the bathroom, water gently splashing around her as she enthusiastically agreed with me.
So often having a happy holiday is a choice, and I was so thankful for this little conversation we had because all of us faced the day with much brighter hearts and faces. Sometimes it only takes a little conversation to get back on track.
Life is full of such annoyances as cat messes, tired days and arguing children. It is also full of breath taking sorrows and joys, examples of beautiful sacrifice and astonishing evil. As I consider the up coming year and the year past, I am struck with the varying experiences we face here on earth. With so much turmoil and pain evident the last couple of months in our own country and all over the world, we know that pain hovers near. The pain of friendship lost, the terror of war, the injustice of prejudices of all sorts, to name just a few. And we also experience such joy – the birth of a newborn baby, finding love in a friend or spouse, the companionship of a pet, and the love of a good book, food, and friendship. And out of even dark times, we see shining examples of sacrifice and love crossing borders and prejudices in the name of love.
They remind me of THE shining light that wrapped up divinity in the human baby form, lived a perfect life, and died for humanity’s sin (if we would but accept it), and he who rose again from the grave with a promise of once and for all defeating the pain, sorrow, injustice and evil we see evident all around us, and wiping away our tears for all time.
It is that hope we celebrate as a family. Sorrow has not left us unmarked, as the holidays bring to mind those who are not with us – our daughter Faith Felicity, Joel’s mom, and many others. But great joy has also left its mark, and the laughter, and hugs and kisses (and even petty arguments within the family) with my girls and my husband remind me again of how much I have been given.
And so it is with joy I am able to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I mean that from my heart. You, readers, I find myself being so grateful for today as well, and I hope that despite life’s perfections, you also find reasons for joy this Christmas.
(I will be taking a brief blogging break for the holiday but will be back with you all soon!)
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