This morning, after traveling over the holidays I actually found myself in my own home for the first time in six days.  Oh, the peace and quiet.   Most mornings I try to make the time to do some Bible reading and prayer and quiet reflection.  This morning I truly valued this time, as I just didn’t have the time (or space) to do it while away.

During this time, I found myself reflecting on the past six days.   This year was the first in eight years that my mom, and both my children and their families were all together.  Mom is struggling with her health but she really enjoyed the time away from where she now resides in NE PA.  She was able to see all six of her great-grandchildren in action over Christmas.  Last year, she was in the hospital for the holidays. Last year, my son and his family were literally moving across country with 3 children, a pregnant wife, a U-Haul, SUV and of course Lucy, their dog.  They traveled through snow and ice and arrived late to his sister’s on Christmas Eve.  I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with mom last year, arriving around dinner to spend a few hours with the children and grandchildren.  This year we reminisced about that journey from 2012.  Our family referenced them to Mary, Joseph and not the 3 wise men, but the 3 wise guys in the back seat in car seats.  The three boys were 7 and under last year.

I’ve also been reflecting on my past year.  2013 say a  year of retirement from 26 years at West Chester University; a year of moving mom to assisted living and cleaning out her home and selling it; a year of being able to travel to VA in April to be there when my sixth grandchild was born and a year of babysitting Emma, my two year old granddaughter, two days a week.  My list could be endless.

With all of this said, I came upon a question this morning which read, “What can you joyfully give thanks for”.  After a period of reflection and many smiles and a few “laughs out loud”, I realized I was able to joyfully give thanks for so many things and people in my life.  You see, not everything this past year was easy.  There were very difficult times.  There were times of tough decisions.  There were illnesses and deaths and babies being born in difficult situations.  Wow it reminds me of when Jesus first came into the world. Think about it!   But through it all, because God came into the world as a young baby named Jesus I can have joy, no matter my circumstance and can joyfully give thanks for everything, every circumstance and every person in my life.

So I would ask you, what can you joyfully give thanks for?