For about ten minutes, my life is idyllic. My daughter naps peacefully upstairs. My husband watches football and reads. I sit knitting while Diana Krall croons on the CD player about chestnuts roasting over an open fire. My “knit-one-purl-one” binding is actually looking like “kint-one-purl-one” binding, for a change. The house is decked out for Christmas with Christmas linens and Christmas kitch. Lighted garland with red ribbons adorns the porch railing outside. It’s cold and wet outside and warm and quiet inside.
These are the moments I can steal for myself and treasure, knowing my family is around me and safe and secure as I work on a gift for a person I love. These are the small blessings of life, and these are the blessings that really count.
When I was in Atlanta last week visiting family, I caught some of the Black Friday television ads. One store in Atlanta even advertised that it would be opening at midnight for shoppers. On Friday morning, local radio stations began giving the mall parking lot traffic reports.
Black Friday shopping madness is something I have never really understood, having worked entirely too many Black Fridays behind a cash register when I was in high school and college. It always amazed me that the shoppers were in such rotten moods when they were out buying gifts for the people in their lives whom they supposedly cared for. Not exactly the Christmas Spirit, eh?
But as a society, we have become obsessed with stuff. Lots of stuff. The latest, greatest stuff. We must be the first to have it and at the lowest possible price (so that we part with as little of our existing stuff as possible to get it).
That is why I really cherish the moments I described at the opening of this article. They cannot be bought in a store. As a matter of fact they cannot be bought, and the folks who have the least “stuff” are the folks who are the most likely to be blessed by them.
Some of my mother’s favorite gifts were the things made for her by her grandsons, my dad, her children. Even though these gifts might not have been perfect, they claimed a place in her heart that something store bought could never claim. In college I had a college professor who despised greeting cards, he insisted we would do well to write something sincere from our own hearts rather than allow our feelings to be expressed by canned language written by a stranger and mass produced by a card company.
I know our economy is largely a retail economy, and we desperately need a good retail season to help alleviate some of the effects of the sagging economy we have experienced over the several years. That said, maybe one of the best ways to alleviate some of the effects of the sagging economy of the last several years is to remember that real and lasting blessings come from meaningful interactions with friends and family, from dropping that dollar in the Salvation Army pot, from smiling at a stranger and seeing a smile in return, from giving the prime parking spot to the car behind you.
So, think about your blessings as you shop—your friends and family and the things that truly matter this season. May you find yourself truly blessed.
© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All Rights Reserved.