Blessings & Gratitude on Christmas Day

Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess.

Max Lucado

Christmas is a special time. People’s traditions vary but for many it’s a time of family and friendships, gifts and celebration and worship. For many it’s also a time to take stock and enjoy a moment of gratitude when they “count their blessings instead of sheep.”

This year marks a special moment of gratitude and blessings for my family. This week my nephew Scott marked 15 years cancer-free after successfully fighting Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. His wife Pam posted this to Facebook on Wednesday.

There’s no way to adequately express our gratitude for the blessing of Scott’s recovery and health today. Pam wasn’t kidding that those were scary days! I was impressed at the time by Scott’s remarkable attitude and spirit throughout his ordeal. I’ve remembered it ever since, but didn’t fully appreciate its power until my own cancer diagnosis. Scott’s illness was considerably more threatening than mine now, yet at one point he remarked calmly and matter-of-factly “I’ll worry when there’s something to worry about.”

That attitude and courage proved to be a blessing for him, for his wife, and for everyone. It got him through it.

Scott also approached his cancer fight with humor. In her post this week, Pam recounts a story when nurses at the cancer center were trying out different wigs that were available for women in chemotherapy to conceal their baldness. Scott was surprised to learn that one of the women working at the cancer center was herself a patient also, wearing a wig to conceal her baldness from chemo. He hadn’t realized. Everyone was being lighthearted and Scott joined in, trying out a few wigs himself!

I shot this video of Scott telling us the story of the wigs. This was when my family gathered in 2007 after my Mom died. He was still undergoing treatment and his outcome wasn’t yet certain.

Scott is a trooper! I’m convinced his attitude played a decisive role in his recovery. Now all these years later he’s showing the way for this old man.

Blessings come in all forms, shapes and sizes. We love the good ones, of course, that come easily. But sometimes the most valuable and meaningful blessings come through some challenge or difficulty. These deepen us as people, open us up to new perspectives, and open new doors we otherwise would not have seen. These blessings can force us to make needed life-altering changes or bring us into contact with people or places that enrich our lives. And, yes, sometimes they make us bald for awhile, or change our hair color to gray or white!

An attitude of gratitude for whatever life brings can guide us to a place of joy and peace, recognizing and appreciating blessings we would otherwise overlook. It lowers the walls and makes us available to the beauty of life and to each other.

Bottom line, gratitude simply makes us happier!

Take a moment today, and everyday, to write down one thing or person you’re grateful for. It can change your life.

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