There’s just a day or two to get out those final few Christmas cards. This year, my husband, John, and I have received some beautiful cards, artistically drawn, with Santa or sacred scenes. Our loved ones – whether they live around the block or across the nation – send greetings as well as good wishes. Warm sentiments abound.
I often use the phrase, “May your holidays be blessed.” I mean it. I sincerely desire that each person experience peace, joy, happiness, and love. However, upon reflection, I wonder, is living in a blessed state optional? Do some people get blessings while others don’t? Or are blessings earned? Maybe blessings are like winning lottery tickets – we all dream of holding them but most of us don’t live that reality.
This is what keeps me up at night – not gas prices or what to wear to the office Christmas party. (FYI – I opted for black pants and a festive yet tasteful sweater.) I question, in a world torn by war, where is the blessing? I struggle with this issue as loved ones undergo divorce or illness or heartache and the fervent prayer goes out again. A prayer for blessings in the midst of pain.
I pondered this issue recently, on a cold winter’s night. Yet no answers immediately came. I expected God, or at the very least, a burning bush. (Note: Should God choose to materialize, I’d prefer him in the form of George Burns – not Jim Carrey.) Yet, in the stillness, images flashed through my brain like stars against the backdrop of an ebony sky.
I saw my husband, John. This gentle giant of a librarian treats me with love and compassion every day of our union. Rarely do local florists earn coin from him, but each night he tenderly pulls the bed covers up over me. He focuses full attention on the car that transports me over icy, snow covered roads. I drive to work secure in the knowledge that everything humanly possible has been done to protect me.
After John, I witnessed the faces of beloved family, friends, and co-workers. One by one, memories flood my being. I recognize their blessed presence in my life. For, over the years, their simple yet overwhelming acts literally altered the course of my life. Food to nourish my body, love to sustain my soul. A kind word, phone calls in times of need, wisdom shared – along with laughter, tears, and hugs, the mental images moved faster and faster, blurring one into another.
Finally, I observed complete strangers. Men and women whose names and faces are unknown to me. Yet I do know them. There’s the Grove City street worker who helped me lug bags of leaves to the curb when John was ill. There’s the elderly couple in Vero Beach, Fla. who gave us advice on marriage and the value of each day. Each of these folks, and so many others, passed almost invisibly, in the blink of an eye. Nurses, cab drivers, cleaning staff, their fleeting presence, however, remains with me. For in but a few short minutes, these spirits uplifted my soul.
I wonder maybe “blessed” isn’t a label reserved for a select few or worn merely at designated times such as holidays. Maybe, regardless of our individual circumstance, we are all blessed in every moment. Maybe blessings rain down upon us from heaven every day of our existence. We need only take off our blinders to see, shed our cloak of apathy or indifference, look past our pain, to feel the Divine’s touch.
This Christmas, whatever it means to you, may you fully experience the innumerable blessings, the daily miracles, that surround you. May you consciously choose to serve as a blessing in the lives of others. And may you know that you are a blessing in my life.
Cindy Kazalia is a staff writer for the Southwest Messenger.