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Season of Joys

Y’all, we are within the 12 Days of Christmas (assuming Christmas is the 12th day, which I never figured out. Do you know??) For now, we’re going to say yes, and so today, our true love has come in with three French hens. Not sure what to do with French hens, except maybe make a bunch of fricassee or coq au vin . . .

Anyhoo, ’tis the Christmas season, and even though it’s not white yet around here (been kinda warmish, actually), the lights are up and the music is playing and the spirit is bright. What Christmastime traditions does your family uphold? We always go to my paternal grandparents on Christmas Eve and eat pizza and wings! It’s one of my grandma’s favorites, and I have fond memories of spending Christmas Eve in their livingroom by the wood stove.

Speaking of happy memories, a fellow author sparked this idea that I thought was a smashing good one. It was the prompt to share a bunch of things that bring you joy and then a recent memory of something that warmed your heart or had kindness on display or something like that. It’s a great thing and no small blessing to share bright and joyful things, no matter how small, because the world we live in is full of darkness, and these pinpricks of light perforate that dark with unquenchable goodness.

I’ll start, but I’d love for all of you to join in and share your own in the comments!

Things that bring me joy are vibrant sunsets • curry & rice • baking/cooking new recipes • ducks (real ones, rubber ones, plush ones) • the autumnal atmosphere • wood fires • stories about characters finding community • Christmas lights in the dark when everyone else is in bed • not having to go to work tomorrow • breakthroughs in writing • bike rides at my own pace • the pop of a sealed canning jar • remembering that Jesus is coming again and my Raynoud’s won’t last in eternity • book mail • the distant hum of a lawn mower and scent of grass on quiet summer afternoons • silvery moonlight across the yard • putting gorgeous hardcovers on my shelves • brown paper packages tied up with strings • the scent of pine • hearing my brothers’ laughter • celebrating fellow writers • checking things off to-do lists • watching my parents love each other • dark chocolate • hot tea • this gif:

I’ll end there, but the list could go on. Thinking about it in this context though points out some interesting things, doesn’t it? So many are simply sensory, others are more abstract things that barely have concise words to describe. It brings to my mind the assurance that we as humans are more than just physical beings. Some things bring joy to our bodies, some things bring joy to our minds, and there are other, less explicable things that bring joy in a way that can only make sense when attributed to the soul, to the eternity of a person. Maybe that’s being too philosophical about stuff, but there’s something about certain things that go beyond the mind and body.

Okay, now for a little story about God’s kindness recently displayed: So, there’s this woman at church. I do not know her outside of church, but have admired her a bit from a distance (that’s how I do most things—from a distance). But you meet and interact with people, serving in the hospitality room, and if there’s one thing that everyone learns about myself before getting the second syllable of my name correct, it’s that I’m always cold. I never fail to get a reaction from the visual aid that are my hands. People are always telling me about all these heated vests and Sherpa hoodies and electric blankets and warm stuff like that, but this woman, who shares my cold feet and has a daughter with Raynaud’s as well, actually came up to me one morning and gave me a pair of thick wool socks. I was so surprised by this simple act of kindness that I think I blanked for a minute (not my proudest moment). No one has done anything like that before, and I was honestly shocked that anyone would think about me and my problem after walking away from our conversation, but I am so very grateful to that person for those socks. It might not be such a big deal to her, might not seem like a big deal to anyone, really, but it was a big deal to me. I love those socks. They are super cozy and a relief for my cold toes, and every time I put them on I think about her and her kindness and the Christlike love she displayed to little ‘ol me.

Thank you, Gloria. I don’t know how else to say it. You are a blessing.

Those are some of my lights in the darkness. What about you? What are some things that bring you joy? Do you have a recent story of God’s goodness on display that you’d be willing to share? It doesn’t have to be big! It can be as simple as a pair of socks, because you know what? God loves you in the little things, too.

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