Holiday How-To: Appreciate Today

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle With Mental Illness  (c)2016 Nancy Virden

The following is an excerpt from Always the Fight: A Living Testimony of What Only God Can Do    2nd edition(2015)

All of Jonathan’s fifth year he dreamed about being six. He envisioned that age a magical time of equality with grownups, independence, and better toys. Repeatedly I heard comments like, “When I’m six…” and “I can’t wait to be six!” The morning finally arrived, and I entered his room to wake him.

“Happy Birthday, Jonathan,” I said.

Immediately came the sleepy reply, “Next year I’ll be seven!”

Truth is, we may not appreciate much in this life until it is gone. Some grownups want to live in the past and bemoan the loss of youth. Parents complain when summer comes around and then long for those children when they leave for college. An employee may miss his crotchety ex-boss after a new one makes life even more miserable. It takes a special effort, a commitment to appreciation to enjoy what one has been given in the present.

One example is my annual sabbatical to the Christmas tree. Each Christmas season, one night after nfbj5akanyone else in the household is fast asleep, I gather a blanket and pillow and set up camp by our Christmas tree. My favorite instrumental music plays in the background as I begin talking to God. I tell him about my year and praise him for being with me through it all, then listen.

He whispers of his love for me; I feel centered and safe. As I thank him silently, the miracle happens. Gazing at the tree endowed with twinkling lights, through my tears I see prisms. Each tiny lamp becomes a shooting star. Hundreds of rainbow-colored luminescent spires rocket to the ceiling and I remember this is the God who formed light out of nothing. He is the grand Creator of this entire splendor and yet holds me in his hands. He is to be trusted. I have everything for which to be thankful.

This commitment to appreciation at Christmastime renews my soul. Can I stop and smell the roses? Sure, in the summer! Suspending the busyness of the holidays only requires fixing my eyes on The Light as I view Christmas trees through grateful tears.

npikhiqToday’s Helpful Word

2 Corinthians 4:6

“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”



NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*Pictures from

**Always The Fight is available for purchase – click here


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