In my house all of the wrapping paper has made it into the trash and onto the curb for pickup. There were some surprises all around in our family this holiday season, including our son finding a new home nearby. He is closing in on 40 and has not lived near us for most of his adult life, so it’s very nice for my husband and I! As I look back on the year, I wonder how long it would take me to write down all the things I’m thankful for. I have heard that there’s “magic in the air;” not the Disney version with pixy dust, but the magic of the human spirit.

I find that the more gratitude I express, the more gratitude I receive. I watch people who have just been thanked, say thank you right back. I have felt led to write a thank you note when I receive a thank you note. The only thing that stops me is the worry that the other person will feel the same pull.

I would rather live with a sense of abundance than one of shortage. In December it is easy for me to remember the facts and the feelings of my childhood. We did not have much, our family lived week to week and sometimes day to day — to pay bills. I had a good laugh with my mom remembering the bill collectors; in those days they would knock on your door! My mom would see them approaching the house and would tell us all to hide in the basement. There were more than a few days we simply just needed to hide from the reality. What was never in short supply was togetherness…from cooking simple meals together, to taking walks, exploring streams together, and even putting up this elaborate manger scene together. There was never a short supply of love.

As I watched the gifts come in for the Family Fund, I remembered that I was one of those kids once. I was the one who needed someone else to offer a hand, a pillow, and some socks. When our home burned down it was the local Methodist ladies who showed up to support my family (my family were Catholics). They brought everything they could carry including a hot meal. I remember two things, their soup and the feeling I had when the left. They saw us when we needed them most.

As I look back, I am grateful to all of you for what you have seen and for the actions you have taken to meet the needs of our students, residents, clients, families, and co-workers. If you are looking for a free resolution, something other than losing weight or going to the gym, consider what you will loose and gain by committing to be thankful. You might lose a different kind of weight!