It’s December and during this festive season many people tend to buy gifts for loved ones and wait in anticipation for the gifts they themselves will receive. Houses transform and twinkle with flashing and multicoloured lights, and pine trees and hallways are decorated with coloured ornaments, wreaths and garlands.
During this time, families and friends come together to eat, drink and celebrate with much joy as laughter flows from room to room, and through windows and doors. For many people, December is the most wonderful time of the year, and after the year we have had, there is much to be thankful for. This December, don’t focus on the gifts that you may receive but instead rejoice for the ones you already have.
The gift of a new day
“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm chapter 118 verse 24)
I recently watched a video where a podcast host asked his guests how they would feel if they received one million dollars. They both said they would feel ecstatic and would be extremely grateful for such a gift. The host then asked whether or not they would feel the same way if they were to receive one million dollars, or even ten million dollars, but would not be able to wake up the next day. Both agreed that they would not be excited and would not accept the money with that condition.
When we reflect on this scenario, we realize that regardless of life’s storms and many challenges, waking up is worth more than ten million dollars. We may not list this among the top five things for which we are most grateful, but we should, because without a new day we would not be able to partake of those other blessings. So let us rejoice every day for the new day the Lord blesses us with, and give thanks for His mercies that accompany them.
“It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations chapter 3 verses 22-23)
The gift of friendship
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs chapter 17 verse 17
We were not created to be alone, but instead for fellowship with God and men.
For me, one of my greatest blessings is friendship. I am grateful for my small, yet invaluable community of friends who have loved, encouraged, supported, prayed for and even corrected me when I needed it the most.
While their correction and rebuke at times was not easy to accept nor appreciated in the moment, in the long run it was always valued because I would eventually see the wisdom in their counsel.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6)
A big part of developing friendships is learning to be vulnerable with each other, especially during hardships. It’s hard to be vulnerable, especially when we feel like it’s the only way we can protect ourselves, but when we have taken the time to nurture and develop our relationships, it creates an atmosphere of trust, confidence and accountability.
In such an environment, we know we can confide in our friends because not only are they trustworthy, but they will also have our best interest at heart and will help to lift and carry our load, when we can’t do it on our own. Being vulnerable strengthens trust and the relationship.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Psalm chapter 27 verse 17)
The gift of laughter
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs chapter 17 verse 22)
The past two years have been difficult for many people across the world due to challenges associated with Covid-19. Consequently, many people struggle to find a reason to smile and laugh during this time, but sometimes, all we need is a good laugh. W.E.B Du Bois, sociologist and historian once said, “I am especially glad of the divine gift of laughter: it has made the world human and lovable, despite all its pain and wrong.” A good laugh has the ability to change the mood of an individual and can help to ease their troubled minds.
Some time ago, the Coca-Cola Company released a video where a man went on a train and pretended to be watching something on his phone. As the train travelled along he would laugh. At first, a few people smiled, but as he continued to laugh harder and louder, more people began to smile and chuckle, until the entire bus was filled with laughter from every direction.
Laughs are infectious and “have the ability to draw people together, while triggering healthy physical and emotional changes in the body by reducing stress and increasing energy.” (Jeanne Segal, Ph.d, July 2021) Therefore it is wise to surround yourself with people who laugh often as well as evoke laughter within you. It also helps sometimes to laugh at yourself; there’s nothing like finding the humour in a bad situation.
The greatest thing about the gift of this good medicine called laughter is that it is free. When last did you have a good laugh?
Gifts are not always found in tangible form. In fact, some of the best gifts are often unseen and are felt in the heart rather than with hands, such as a new day, friendship and laughter. What gifts are you grateful for?
Rose-Ann Durant is a young Christian from Kingston, Jamaica, who is currently living in Barbados. She is the 2021 Basil Sellers International (18-30) Awardee and in August 2021, became a contributing writer for Victorious By Design, a digital and print media group that seeks to encourage women of all ages to walk victoriously into all that God has called them. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, river, and spending time outdoors.