The first snow descended on the Midwest by Thanksgiving most years. Growing up in Chicago, as trees grew bare and winds howled, my sisters, brother and I began looking forward to the gifts of the season.
We got our ice skates sharpened, our toboggan slicked and enjoyed the smell of my mom’s Christmas cookie-baking. (She hid them too, knowing that if she didn’t they’d be gone well before Christmas.) Those were heartwarming, happy times that still bring a smile to my heart.
Sparkling lights went up on homes, lamp posts and Christmas trees. It all put sparkle in our eyes and, hopefully, our hearts.
Counting our blessings along with stirring up holiday joy never gets old. It’s a time to celebrate all that is good in life and appreciate the gifts of family, friends and community.
Despite masks and social distancing, if I take nothing for granted, there is so much to be grateful for. Oh, sure, we could find lots to complain about if we look for it. Yet, flip that coin to what we have to be grateful for and something magical happens.
Take Christmas at O’Hare airport, for example. I loved working there, especially during the holidays when families reunited.
Smile, hugs, and tears of joy blossomed as children were scooped up into grandparents’ arms, as sweethearts ran into each other’s arms. Gratitude was in the air as well as hearts and on faces.
The sparkling energy of gratitude was pervasive. Still, we don’t have to wait for the holidays to feel the gifts of a grateful heart.
Gratitude actually changes everything, including our sense of well-being.
When I learned (and experienced) the gifts of gratitude I became a devoted believer. Here are three results that make gratitude worth every effort:
If you are willing, try this: make a daily gratitude list; express appreciation each day (you’ll make somebody’s day that way); put a focus on everything that goes right during the day and give thanks for it.
Then, watch the blessings pour.
Editor’s Note: Sharon Connors is a reverend at Unity Spiritual Center, 10101 W. Coggins, Sun City.