Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Taking Time to Count All Our Blessings

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 10.08.19 PMPublished January 2014: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Taking Time to Count All Our Blessings

(Editor’s note: Maybe it’s January, but it’s always a good time to count our blessings. Here’s a column by a freelance writer and college instructor reminding us of what being grateful means.)

When I was little, Christmas was my favorite time of year. It was the anticipation of spending time with my family, the excitement over gift giving and the nervousness of holiday plays and church programs. For me, the main events always lived up to the anticipation. But, I’m not so little anymore.

Now that I’m older, it’s a different type of anticipation. It could be the pressure to finish up grades and shopping in the same week, the fear of forgetting something or someone important, the worry over how much money I’m spending or even a little dread thinking about spending the holidays without the ones we lost throughout the year.

I find it so hard to get into the Christmas spirit as each year passes. It gets harder and harder to put on a smile
and say “Merry Christmas.” I’m not a Grinch, I’m not a whiner and I’m truly not a pessimist. I’m just a little lost in December.

Somehow, though, I find the spirit.

Most years, it comes from something or someone unexpected. And, every year, this moment of truth makes me feel ashamed for pitying myself when others have so much more to stress about. Today, after hours of mediating quarrels between my son and daughter, I flipped on the Christmas station on our drive home. I’m not a big fan of the cheesy station that plays Wham’s Last Christmas every two hours, but my frustration level was so high that I didn’t think it would hurt.

The first song we heard was “The Christmas Shoes” by Bob Carlisle. I almost changed the dial because I’m not
a fan of country music, but my daughter grabbed my hand and said, “Wait, mom. This is a good one.” If you haven’t heard the song and you’re feeling pretty low, take a minute and listen to the words. This little boy who wants to buy shoes for his dying mother will make you stop and think about all the blessings you can’t see.

As I drove along with tear-soaked eyes, I thought about how lucky I was to have two kids who love me unconditionally despite my faults. I thought about how very fortunate I am, and I thought about all the students I’ve been blessed to have who continue to find success in a jobless society. I thought about how my family has endured the worst this year, yet still remained strong for each other. And, more importantly, I thought about how much my grandma will enjoy Christmas in heaven this year with grandpa.

I’m truly thankful for all that I have – and most of all, for Christmas shoes to keep me on track.

— Shannon Philpott

Read More Fresh Takes on Faith HERE

January 2, 2014 - Posted by | Feature Stories, Magazine Writing, Sample Work | , , , ,

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