Every year, one of my sister’s gives me my favorite hot cocoa mix for Christmas. I could buy it for myself, but it’s one of those decadent treats that is even better because it’s limited. I get a package each Christmas, then savor it in the following weeks. Some years it doesn’t last as long as others. I would be disappointed if I didn’t receive it, but my sister repeatedly comes through for me.
This year she added some bonus chocolately treats in my package, because she had visited San Francisco, where Ghiradelli is headquartered.
The night after Christmas, I made my first cup and savored it in a mug I had received as a thank you for serving at church. It’s one of those mugs that is just right for holding in both hands to warm up.
Did I mention the outside temperature was two degrees as I was cuddled up enjoying my hot chocolate in a warm mug?
Full hands, warm tummy.
It hadn’t been the easiest of weeks. I thought about how I could focus on so many different things, and the options would vastly shift my perspective. If I chose to dwell on the struggles, emptiness, and hurt, I would reflect on the past few days with one conclusion. Or I could choose to focus on the blessings, the moments of joy, the abiding peace, the well-timed encouragement, and so much more. It was a good Christmas with a few rough moments. I choose to see it that way instead of defining it as a rough holiday with a few bright spots.
It’s important to see the reality of it all but what we place in the foreground and background matters. We can’t ignore the mess of our lives. It is in that yuck that we build muscle and strength. It is where we are pruned and refined. If we ignore or set it aside, we aren’t truly coping. And without that context, we cannot fully appreciate the beauty that can live among, despite, and because of the junk. It is in the sorting that we discern what gets our attention. It is intentional, purifying, and inspiring.
I sipped my hot chocolate, and it warmed my tummy. And I was grateful. As tears of weariness fell, I sighed with a sense of peace and contentment. Sometimes, change comes in startling ways and is noticed again and again in the context of consistency. My Christmas was not what I would have expected a year ago, but many things about it were.
Including my annual hot cocoa gift.
And even sweeter than it, the presence of God.
I am indeed blessed.