24 Nov
My Gratitude Jar

One morning this week I sat in the dark, at the computer, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Christmas music was playing softly, and I began to think of Christmas past. The tight ball of anguish in my stomach released. It felt good to just sit and let the comforting tears flow. In fact, I began to fuel this episode with thoughts of things that were not going well in my life.

My thoughts went something like this: there wouldn’t be time to work on my manuscript, Christmas decorations wouldn’t be up until well into December, the tradition of going to the father/daughter banquet was over because my father passed away in August, my mother-in-law was refusing to adjust to her new personal care residence, and sorting for the rest of her move would take a lot of my free time this season. Oh my goodness, more tears erupted. I really had to get a grip on this downward spiral, while I still could.

When I’ll be Home for Christmas began to play, I thought of the linen curtain I have that says Christmas 1914. A young woman stitched it ninety-nine years ago, while her loved one was at war. I was reminded that people, even today, find themselves alone with children and elders, while their spouses fight for freedom. I imagined how awful it would be to know my husband was on a battlefield somewhere overseas. I thought about these men and women, and imagined how they must strive to make the season special for their children, and extended families. Perhaps they bravely save their tears for the quiet of the night.

I have heard stories of my grandmother staying up late to sew flannelette pajamas for every member of her family. She saved pennies for weeks to be able to buy oranges, nuts, and candies, for the children. Her decorations were always homemade and often edible. Above all, she was grateful for the simple pleasures of family and tradition.

Powered by these thoughts, I got dressed and left the house, expecting a wonderful day. It was dark by the time I returned home. I opened the door, and, to my surprise, I was greeted by the joyous sounds of Christmas music, a glowing fireplace, and a fully lit Christmas tree. My husband smiled at me, proud of his accomplishments, and handed me a glass of wine. I was overcome with gratitude.

Years ago, when I was having a tough time finding the Christmas spirit, I created a gratitude jar. This is the perfect year to recreate the idea. I will use my husband’s grandma’s cookie jar and fill it with notes of gratitude every day until Christmas. I am grateful for my husband, my tree, and my newly adjusted attitude. If I find myself slipping into the darkness, I will read the notes of gratitude from my jar.

I promise not to post my gratitude notes every day, but, once a week, I might add them to my Get a Bigger Wagon Facebook page. May the Christmas spirit burn warmly in your hearts, and please share your best Christmas moments on this blog. I think I will pick a gift to give to the most inspiring contributor. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to decorate my newly acquired, well-lit tree.








Comments (2)

  • Nicki Ault
    December 27, 2014 at 08:07 pm

    This is a beautiful post Maureen. It certainly hits home and it is good to know that I am not alone with some of my thoughts. XO

  • Bev Ashdown
    November 28, 2013 at 07:51 am

    Thank you for sharing Maureen, That was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I too am missing my Mom, and all the special things she did to make Christmas such a warm and wonderful time of year. I do my best to to bring that magic to my own family now. Have a Blessed Christmas my Luv.

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