Blessings continue to flow. The mere fact that you are reading this article means you woke up this morning. That was your first blessing of the day. What a fantastic way to start the day. If you were able to go about your normal daily task as you did yesterday, that counts as more blessings in your favor.
Smile and get ready to acknowledge the additional blessings you will receive throughout the day. Please be aware that some blessings will seem so insignificant as they take place, you may not recognize them until much later, but that is OK. The only thing you must do is greet each moment as the gift it is.
I love the month of December for many reasons and last week a sweet gift, locked in my memory from my childhood days was revisited, quite by chance.
I am a member of a local choir made up of members from various churches in Durham and Chapel Hill, and we were to meet at Fisher Memorial United Holy Church in Durham for rehearsal for an upcoming Christmas Program. I had never been there before, so as I drove up, parked my car and went in to join the other members I immediately felt as if I had been in this building before. I attributed my initial comfort and ease to the fact that there was much warmth coming from the people gathered chatting and greeting each other before rehearsal began.
As I sat down, I looked around and noticed the stained-glass windows, the pews, the pulpit, the choir stand. Everything was in place, just like I remembered from my childhood. It was as if I was in El Paso Texas, at Shiloh Baptist Church, the church that I grew up in. Even the red upholstery and carpet throughout the church was similar to the place I call my first church home where I and others sang in the choir, recited our first poems, learned to serve others through example as we collectively participated in preparing food and delivered it to those who had needs.
My mother was forever inviting guests into our home who had no local family ties so they would not have to be alone. At first, I did not understand why we would want to do this. All I could think of were the inconvenience and extra work I would have to do as I washed more dishes after the feast. My mother always prepared a feast and was known for it. What I remember now are the smiles and gratitude the guests felt when extended a sense of home and community. As I grew older I realized the richness of spirit that sharing with others brings.
Many of the people in my church home reached out to others. Estine Davis, who oversaw the Youth Usher Board, took every child in the church under her wing and taught them how to be good ushers. She was a hard task master and we practiced for an hour every month, knowing we would be treated with popsicles as a reward. We always did good.
Then there was Brother and Mrs. Allen who had no children but were so supportive of all the children in the church. Sometimes Brother Allen would just cry tears of joy when he would talk about the youth and the opportunities that would be there for us in life if we worked at the gifts we were each born with. He and his wife wanted so much for our future, that we the children could not readily grasp it all at that time.
Every Christmas, the children would be part of the Christmas program, much like the one I participated in at Fisher Memorial. From a child’s eye, it was always magical because we could see and witness the love and support that was so readily given.
The holiday season means different things to different people. For some it is the religious significance; for others it is a time of merriment or the closing of the old year and looking toward the new year. The best gifts we have to give each other do not come from a store; nor can they be purchased with money. They come from the heart. When times are good and when times are not so good, the heartfelt times will always be remembered and cherished.
Just think of all the people who have poured love into you, especially who are not related to you but do so anyway, just because. You know there is something heavenly about that. It is a blessing and it is a gift. Joy to the world. Joy to your world.
Regina Gale is a speaker who loves to sing and a poet who loves to dance, and the author of “Sometimes He Buys Me Grapes” a memoir of the song and dance of life from a seasoned woman’s heart. You can reach her at www.reginagale.com.