Friday, December 22, 2006


My oldest daughter has always been quite persistent. And for the past few weeks she has been nagging me about the stockings which are hung on the bannister every year. (we don't currently own a mantle). I told her to quit bugging me, since in some families, stockings are not filled until Christmas Eve.

And this made me think about how I love unexpected gifts. Not only the gifts one might see bulging in stockings, or wrapped under (the most beautiful, gangly) tree. In the past 48 hours, I have received gifts such as these and I'd like to pass some of them along to you. Because beauty and pain coexist, and yes, I cry a great deal, but I still experience beauty.

Every comment is a gift.
Every private and sincere e-mail is a gift.
I don't deserve them, but I accept.
Every time I read a blog that dares be honest, I am the recipient.

This morning I received a Christmas card from daycare parents who sometimes cause me pain, the sort of pain that comes of caring deeply. And the hand-written note says: "Thank you for everything you do for us. We wouldn't know what to do without you.
Brian, Arianna, Jane, Micah, and Sam: Thank you for sharing Joyce with us".
It is a true gift to be appreciated, and I believe that they really mean it.

Yesterday when I took the (five) pre-schoolers out for a walk, I received two lovely gifts. We stopped at the pharmacy for a prescription, and the pharmacist said the most sincere "Merry Christmas" to me. Maybe I'm reading into things way too much, but I just felt like he was reaching across the counter at us, and wrapping me in a warm and sincere hug of well wishes. I asked him if he celebrated Christmas, not knowing what faith he practises. "Oh, yes", he said with a smile. Maybe it sounds corny, but it felt like a gift to me.

Then we traipsed on down the sidewalk, me pulling the baby in the sleigh and the boys climbing every single mound of snow along the way. An older woman passed us on the sidewalk with a big grin on her face, obviously amused at the youthful gang. She made it all the way to the bank, in and out, then passed us again on her way by. We'd only made it half a block.

She reached her hand out to me, and with the warmest smile said;
"God bless you in what you do".

She couldn't have known that the gift I badly need right now is a Blessing from God.


Anonymous said...

Hi Joyce,
Joanne here.
Warning. This maybe too long for a post, but it's Christmas and I'm not aware of any blog etiquette that says I shouldn't.
I'm with ya..hardly know you, but I'm with ya. I am on the receiving end of your blog all the time and don't really know what or how to give anything back. I resist the urge to delete or proofread my comments. (Sometimes I don't like what I write, but I let it go in hopes that someone will want to be my friend anyway.)Blogs are the spaces in my life where I allow myself to be really me. And I read you everyday b/c I know that I am getting the same in return. Warts, flabby thighs and all. It's why you have a following (I think) b/c you are daring enough to talk about the crap that all of us carry, we just don't have the balls to share it (yet). People like me. Okay this is on the "wordy bullshit" side, but I am not deleting anything. I hope you get more blessings today.

Anonymous said...

YOU are a gift.

Anonymous said...

Angels in disguise perhaps? Put your hands up... you're surrounded!
Merry Christmas Joyce.

Anonymous said...

ps merry christmas shalom to your cozy home.


Anonymous said...

blessings all around us...
HE just hopes we're walking with our eyes wide open.
you are...

it's a gong show... said...

God bless you for being real, which is something a lot of people cannot or will not be...


lettuce said...

Angels in disguise? or, actually, maybe NOT in disguise, could be thats what/who angels are.

Your blog - you - are a gift for me.

many blessings for you and yours Joyce, this Christmas. I hope - I'm sure - you will know peace and joy, as well as the pain and grief.

Anonymous said...

You know I don't believe in any god-but I believe in the inherent goodness in people. It's there in all of us, and this time of the year helps us see it easier.

I wish you only good things now, and for the new year.

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you ALWAYS!

You are a git to me, too.

Merry Christmas!

Judy - Anybody Home

Anonymous said...


you are a GIFT to me, too.


Anonymous said...

I burst into tears at "God bless you in what you do."
Now THAT was a very, very sincere blessing.
What a wonderful gift!

And as others have mentioned...YOU are a gift.
God bless you.