Maria A. Mansfield
Simple Gratitude For The Best Gift.
This Holiday Season is already exceptionally different. It's been a long year, and the pandemic almost got the best of us. Except we've become incrementally more resilient, more creative, and have shown more grit and concern for others than other years. Medical help is on the way.
As a family, we are mindful that the greatest gift this year was the time we could spend together at home while the rest of the world was closed. We are grateful to have shared these months with our sons in a year we were scheduled to be empty nesters.
When I asked our sons if they needed or wanted anything for Christmas, they said: "We already have enough, Ma. We're grateful." I was pleasantly surprised. I loved their response! Still, I thought I would get them something simple anyway. I considered a category of the classic gift guide: Something you want, or something you need, something to wear, or something to read. But thought that being grateful for what we already had was such a great gift for us! Read on. You might find you already have everything on your list as well!
Something you want. Maybe what we wanted wasn't really that. We might be surprised, but it could be something we already have. Or perhaps it's something inside of us that's waiting to unfold, to see the light. Search your heart. You might already have what you want, or maybe the possibility of it.
Something you need. What if that thing we thought we needed -we really didn't? Do we even know what we need? Maybe it's a coat, that's fair enough. But what if it was an increase in confidence? Or a fresh start? Or even a boost in your immune system, or more mental space? How do we even begin to order these online? Maybe what we have is all we need. We can consider ourselves blessed if we still have hope, faith, health, a loved one, a place to call home. And something to do that fulfills our purpose. Who knows? We might already have most of what we need.
Something to wear. -Maybe we might be able to shop for that inside our own closet. What if instead, we modeled this new wardrobe: A coat of Compassion, layers of Kindness, a hat of Humility, gloves of Gentleness, shoes of Patience, and covered it all with Love? Wouldn't that look fabulous on everyone? Sometimes, a pretty outfit won't cover a bad attitude. When everyone is so worn out and tired, we could all try on some of these "new clothes" and wear them regularly. And yes, we already have these too, and bonus, they won't ever go out of style.
Something to read. I love books. I own them in all formats. But what if we could capture the story of our lives so far in a single snapshot? If we took a moment to look back to where we started off and where we are today, wouldn't that be some story? We often overlook our own journeys and find others that seem more glamorous. What we don't always realize is that their journey also included hard lessons. Think of the things you've learned, the places you've seen, the people you've met and loved. Sit for a while and "read" your own story. Be amazed at how you made it through when you thought you didn't have the strength to carry on! We might already have our Holiday read after all.
The gifs we wrap up will hopefully bring joy to others. But the gifts we give of ourselves: like our time, words of encouragement, simple acts of kindness, a phone call, and donations to those in need are just some of the gifts which bless others the most. Although simple, they don't go unnoticed. When we take time to give Christmas away, others feel loved, remembered, and cherished. In Kahlil Gibran's poem, "On Giving," he writes: "You give little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."
This Christmas, we get to give because we were given a Gift. We get to love because we were shown, Love. We get to be kind because Someone was kind to us. We get to feel compassion because Someone had a heart for us. We get to celebrate this Season despite the kind of year we had. Because it's not about what we do, but what's already been done for us. That's why we're grateful for God's Gift. That's why we still celebrate this week with gratitude.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.
All my best,
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS
Author "Life is Worth Getting Better"
"Honoring Your Recovery" and
“Tu vida merece que te mejores”