It was a wonderful Christmas party – the food was great; the decorations simple – but exquisite; you may even have gotten a present or two; and the music was nice. You left feeling satisfied (hopefully not having had too much to drink to impair your driving ability). You think to yourself (as if there’s another way to think) – we should do this again next year.
Or, maybe you came home for Christmas … and arrived just in time to hand over a bottle of wine, greet your siblings, and sit down for dinner…
But, did you spare a thought about what it took to get the Christmas tree looking so great, how the house got so spotless, how long it took to set the table just right or to prepare the sorrel or the rice and peas, or the chicken, or the ham? And how long it will take to clean up – after you’ve left?
Yes, all that is the sober side of Christmas. I got here while, by chance, listening to a Voice of Prophecy radio programme on Christmas night. The story was told of a father who loved to chronicle the milestones of his family, especially at Christmas. He would make movies of the children acting or reciting stuff; and his son now treasures these as invaluable mementos. He passed on some years ago, however, and his son has one regret! Yes, there are many many movies with and photos of the children, grandchildren, spouses and his mother … but very few of his father … because he was always ‘behind the camera’.
He accepts that someone had to be there to hold and focus the lens; to direct the activities; and to capture the moments for posterity. But, somehow, he feels cheated of the ability to ‘see’ the captured moments of his father’s life.
Expressions of gratitude
I got distracted, and I don’t recall if the story went on to speak about whether the son had a chance to say ‘thanks’ to his father for the animated memories. Nor am I suggesting that we don’t or didn’t say thanks to the ones who slaved over the stoves to cook or to accomplish the many and varied tasks to get everything just right for the celebrations.
But, I am saying that, if we didn’t … it’s not too late to say “thanks” (even as we celebrate a second ‘Boxing Day’ – at least here in Jamaica).
A life of gratitude
Yet, it’s not only at Christmas time that we need to show gratitude to the ‘unseen hands’. So often in life we achieve success because of the ‘unnamed’ persons who helped us along the way. Sometimes not even so much with tangible help; but often with a word of cheer, of reassurance, of confidence, of hope and sheer belief in our abilities (even when we ourselves didn’t believe any more …)
That teacher who said, ‘you can do this – I believe in you’. The pastor who said, ‘I know it’s hard, but you have to forgive and let go, and trust in God’. The friend who said, ‘I don’t KNOW how you feel, but I’m here for you’. That (seeming) enemy who said, ‘you can never do that – you’re too weak’ – and that was all you needed to push yourself to prove to you and them that you CAN do it! That family member (estranged as it were because of life’s ups and downs, with whom you exchanged such angry words) who (without words) simply hugged you as you grieved the passing of a loved one.
The list is endless, and only you know the little things that you should be grateful for and only you know the ones for which you have yet to say ‘thanks’.
As we move on from the celebration of the birth of Christ, who brought life and hope to the world; and move on Deo volente to meet the new year – let us spare a moment to say thanks to those we love and cherish … it’s time (while we still have time …)
May God grant you all the good desires of your heart for 2012.
Walk good, ’til next time …