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The song of gratitude at Christmas

Richelle Barrett for Progressive Cattleman Published on 29 November 2017
free-range cattle

Our girls have been practicing the songs for their Christmas program for church. Their Sunday school teachers kindly gave us a disc with all four of the songs on it, which was promptly pushed into the CD player in my car (because that is the only CD player we own). I love their sweet little voices singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” but listening to the same four songs for the next three weeks is likely to make me lose my mind.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the holidays. Not so much that I count down the days until Christmas starting the day after Independence Day, but more like once Halloween is over, turkeys and pilgrims are stylish decor for at least two months.

I love eating too much for Thanksgiving, because it means we were able to put another meal on the table. I love putting up the Christmas tree and decorations the day after Thanksgiving while watching my kids hang up their favorite ornaments and rearrange their “Little People” nativity set every time they walk past it. Every. Single. Time.

I love binge watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Home Alone, and not having to feel quite so bad about the misfits in my own family.

I enjoy the tradition that is our “naughty” Elf on the Shelf and watching our kids laugh at the crazy things “she” does each morning. It warms my heart to do silly things with our kids while the craziness of life keeps marching on. Soon enough, they won’t believe in Santa or think Mom or Dad are very funny, so I suspect we ought to take advantage of it while it lasts.

The truth of the matter is I just love looking back on years past and realizing how much we have to be thankful for. This year, especially, has been both heartbreaking, yet strangely rewarding. I have learned that no matter how many prayers have seemingly gone unanswered, the good Lord is always listening.

Maybe I don’t always understand His timing and spend a lot of time wishing that I could see into the future, but His mercies are bountiful just the same. Being grateful for all the blessings we have had bestowed upon us should be a daily thing, not just a “holiday” thing. Maybe I will be better about that next year.

Tomorrow, while waiting for the bus to pick up my daughter, we will listen to the same four Christmas songs over and over again. We will sing off-key and laugh at how none of us know the words. We will watch Home Alone for the three-hundredth time this weekend, and my husband and I will work on some goofy new poses for Norma the Elf.

No matter what you believe in or celebrate this holiday season, I wish you all many blessings and time spent with the people you love. Life is too short to spend it any other way.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!  end mark

Richelle Barrett is a blogger and photographer from Havre, Montana.

PHOTO: We are blessed beyond measure every day of the year. We’re thankful for another year doing what we love. Photo by Richelle Barrett.

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