2016 hasn’t been the best of years. As a family, we’ve had some complicated health issues, and we lost a dear friend, whose spirit wasn’t ready to die, but whose body had finally had enough. She fought for every one of her sixty years. I loved her and I miss her dreadfully.
But today, it’s Christmas, and I’m grateful for the good things. Because I am a believer and it’s Christmas, this has come out in the form of a prayer. If that’s not your style, feel free to skip the God parts. I hope that you, too, have things to be grateful for this festive season and that you like it.
Thank you, Lord, for my family. The ones who live here with me, the ones who are far away as I write but ever in my heart, and the ones I have adopted for myself. Sometimes I don’t know why they love me, but I know they do and it sustains me as you intended it to. Help me to show my love and gratitude better, so that I can sustain them too.
Thank you for my friends. Thanks for the ones who came around for supper last night, thereby sharing the Christmas spirit and giving me an excuse to eat samosas and profiteroles for breakfast. (They were left over, Lord, what could I do?) Thank you for the ones who are always there and the ones who are constant through long periods of silence. I would be lost without them. Help me to show them how much they mean to me.
Thank you for the food. Thank you for its freshness, its deliciousness and its healthfulness (profiteroles are good for my mental health, I’m sure). At this time of year, when my fridge is gasping to keep up with the load, I am grateful for my country’s and my family’s abundance. Teach me never to take that for granted and to be as generous as you are.
Thank you for my church community. I am so grateful to be surrounded by good people who care for each other. I am grateful that I live in a country where it is safe for me to worship with my community in peace; to go to midnight mass without fear. Help me to remember how lucky I am and never cease to pray and agitate for all people to have the freedom to worship, or not, however they choose.
Thank you for my choir. We won’t be performing for the Queen any time soon, but this year they have grown so much, in numbers and skill and I helped them to do that. Thank you for showing me that I can do this and for all the benefits it has brought me. May I always equal my choir members in generosity of spirit and willingness to learn and may I continue to help them and through them, our community of faith.
Thank you for all the friends that I ‘see’ mainly online. My ‘virtual’ friends are every bit as real as my more visible ones and they help to keep me sane. Thank you for this new way of creating community. Help me to use it well.
Lord, this one is hard to say, but… thank you for the grief. It’s no fun, Lord. There is a hole in my life where my friend used to be. I know she is still there, but she is with me in a different way now. I’m not sure I will ever adjust to that change, or even that I want to. But it is teaching me to value my time and my loved ones more, at least I hope it is. Help me to make that true. She loved nothing more than to help others, so I know she’d like that!
Thanks for the perspective. Lord. I know that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff and if there is one thing this year has taught me, it’s that most of it is small stuff. Help me to hold on to that knowledge, when I am tempted to get bogged down, physically or emotionally, in future.
Thank you for the anti-depressants, Lord and for my psychologist. I still feel ashamed to need them when I am so blessed, but I do – and without the help, this year would have sent me very deep into the nasty, smelly hole where depression lives. Thank you for helping me to be present for my family and friends this year – at least some of them – and to feel my grief as grief rather than the paralysing, black blanket of depression. Help me to turn it into greater compassion for others.
Thank you for my health. The older I get, the more I am grateful to be well and ambulatory. If you could see your way clear to sorting out these hormones, I would mightily appreciate it, but I know there are more important things and if you’re busy, I’ll manage. It’s just life, after all, and life is better than the alternative. (Sorry if that’s a bit dark, Lord, but that’s how I think, these days. I figure you understand.) Help me to continue to appreciate what I have and work to keep it.
Thank you for my country. I appreciate that it is still relatively sane and safe, when so many in the world don’t have those luxuries. Help me to find ways to encourage what is good and make better what is poor and mean-spirited. And help everyone in the world with freedom and means to work for the benefit of those whose lives and liberties are threatened or taken away.
Thank you for all the ‘small’ things that bring me joy: the birds in the backyard; the strawberries from the garden; books and movies that move or amuse me; my child’s smiles, my husband’s hugs, ham and cheese croissants and coffee and all the myriad things that make life good. Help me to keep them more present in my mind than complaints.
Help me always to be as grateful as I am today.
Merry Christmas. I hope it is truly a season of peace and goodwill for you and the world.
Copyright © Imelda Evans 2016