Walking by Faith Alone

Archive for November 23rd, 2011

To have a grateful heart…

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I met an older woman recently who had not celebrated the holidays for eight years – no Thanksgiving, no Christmas – no turkey with cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and cinnamon. The lights and candy canes have remained in her attic tucked away since 2002, and this year would not be any different. Her only daughter and grandson had been killed Christmas Day at the age of 26 and 18 months. My heart broke for her as she pulled from her wallet his picture – blond, blue-eyed, dressed in Osh Kosh overalls and a cowboy hat, complete with boots.

“I learned that year what it meant to have a grateful heart,” she whispered.

As I listened furthered to her story, she told me as she sat before his tiny grave the reality of the season of thankfulness became clear to her. The times in our lives that we are to show our thankfulness, we spend completely entranced by preparation and activity. How she used to cook! Her table set in Emily Post’s manner and the most delicious sweet potato pie, her grandmother’s recipe. Her tree was always in place and decorated the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Friday was spent shopping until her feet could no longer move. Sunday after Thanksgiving began with Christmas parties and festivities until in a complete whirlwind of events, she found herself putting away Christmas decorations by January 1st.

The last conversation she had with her daughter was hurried. Christmas brunch was in the oven. She’d have to hear what Santa brought when they got to her house. Her only child had uttered something before hanging up the phone but she couldn’t remember what it was because in her busy state, she hadn’t listened.

Psalm 30:11-12, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

Her holidays are spent differently now, not with preparation but with the people she loves. Her heart is still and patient as she listens to the voices of those around her. The hurriedness is gone and replaced with humility.  And if she had that one moment to live again? That last conversation, the Quiche would burn, and she would know the last words her daughter said to her on Christmas Day.

Give thanks in all things…with a grateful heart.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

November 23, 2011 at 11:49 am