Our region had been in a drought all year. The spring blossoms, the summer grasses, the fall leaves--all of them had been affected. A contentious election threatened to split our nation in two the month before, and a major financial downturn had turned down many people's bright dreams for their future.
It had been a tough year.
I was at home writing and needed a break. Outside the day was gray. Inside, the living room would have been gray, too, except for the Christmas tree. It was brightly lit and adorned from top to bottom with Christmas cheer. Tiny white lights provided the background blink. My perennial favorite ornaments include anything my daughter made, formal glass balls and crystal snowflakes, and funky folk-art dogs and reindeer. I also like the purple and blue plastic balls that add color on any branch not already claimed by something else.
I remember thinking that ours was a tree filled with cheer, which I really seemed to need that year.
As I looked at it, something out the window caught my eye: it was raining. Life-giving, thirst-drenching rain was falling steadily outside. I opened the deck door and listened to the sound coming from our woodsy back yard: the rain was falling through the tops of the trees, onto dry leaves that were still attached, down onto curled-up leaves on the ground.
It was louder than I would have thought and soothing in a way I didn't know I needed.
It reminded me that, even though the times were troubling, the One who makes the rain was still there. God was still there, still providing, still watching over us.
Thanking Him, I went back inside and made a gratitude list for all the beauty in my life: for the rain, the now-wet trees outside, the cheerful tree inside, the crazy canine at my feet, my beloved husband and daughter, family and friends, and above all Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this season.
I'm glad I made that list and saved it, because reading it now makes me grateful all over again for these things and so many more.
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