Have you watched “It’s Christmas Again Charlie Brown” as an adult? It’s one of my favorite things to do after Thanksgiving. It’s funny because my grown up eyes see so much more than my child eyes did. As a kid, I couldn’t understand why Charlie felt so negatively about Christmas. He would say things like, “I think I have a problem, Linus. Christmas will be here, and I’m depressed. I’m not feeling the way I should be feeling. I guess I don’t understand Christmas. I love getting gifts and sending out cards and decorating, but I’m still sad. I end up being depressed.” 

Or “I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about.” How could someone feel that way about Christmas? Fast forward 30 years, and I get it… I get him.

Saying this year has been difficult and challenging is an understatement. Gratitude is often a topic that comes up as the holiday season approaches. Holidays remind us of all the things we have to be thankful for as we are surrounded by family and loved ones, participating in traditions that bring us joy and happiness. We take pause and reflect on all the good things that we have. 

I would be lying if I told you that gratitude hasn’t come easy for me as of late. It’s been a difficult year; 2020 has stolen my adventures, hindered my goals, and robbed me of opportunities that felt like they should have been mine. A friend reminded me this week how much I have to be thankful for even in the midst of a very difficult season. I know it’s hard to do this sometimes. We all have those moments when we can’t see the good. I have learned that it is important that we learn to look for the good in the midst of trying circumstances. Having gratitude serves as a way to help us feel more positive emotions, improves our health and makes us stronger. 

I’ve been waking up each morning and listing five things I’m grateful for, and I encourage you to do the same. Some days are harder than others, but I always find something even if it’s small, like the sweet smile of your elderly neighbor or a heartfelt conversation with a friend. Reminding myself of all that I have to be thankful for helps me set the day off on the right foot. It reminds me that there is more to life than what I am feeling at this moment. Life is after all, the great giver of gifts isn’t it? 

Perspective is one of the greatest gifts we can be given. For me it came through the words of my friend. For Charlie, it always came from his dear Linus Van Pelt, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree,” Linus said. “It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.

There will always be more great opportunities, more adventure and more good. I think that’s why we have to learn to not hold on to things so tightly. There is enough love in this world to go around, even when the well feels dry. There is always hope for a brighter tomorrow and always something to be thankful for. 

What are you thankful for?

“The grateful heart will always find opportunities to show its gratitude.” – Aesop