by Kevin Burton
My wife asks me every year what I want for Christmas and every year I can’t think of anything.
You would think she had asked me to cut the grass. I just groan.
And the thing is, I always think of things too late. It’s like those clever remarks you think of after the fact and can’t use. The party is over and everyone has gone home and you have lost your chance to be a wit.
So this year I realize too late I could have asked for a go kart. Not sure why I didn’t think of that one sooner because that’s a need, not a want.
While I was pondering this, we had our dilemma solved in a veeeeery unusual, unexpected, improbable way….
Our fireplace is for show and precious little of that even. We just don’t use it. That’s why I was surprised this morning to head a dull thud and learn, after frenzied investigation, that the noise came from the fireplace, via the chimney.
If you read this blog, you know I’m a believer, but not in Santa.
“Great, I don’t have time for this,” I thought. “We’ve got food to cook, presents to wrap.” The stress of Christmas was thick as pudding.
“What is it?” Jeannette asked.
It was a small package, partially opened. My first instinct was to crush it with a baseball bat and get on with Christmas. But Jeannette raised her hand in the internationally recognized signal for “wait.”
I prodded the package with the bat.
The cats couldn’t be bothered with any of this, which was just as well.
It seemed harmless but I was keen to end the mystery. I raised the bat.
“Please don’t” said a voice.
I turned to see a smallish round man standing near the fireplace.
“Who are you and how did you get in here,” I demanded, hand still on the bat.
“I’m Clarence, your guardian angel,” he said.
Both hands on the bat now.
“I’ve been helpful in the past,” he said, with no apparent alarm. “Does ‘A Wonderful Life’ ring a bell?”
“Very funny. That actor has been dead for years,” I sneered.
“He’s not an actor, he’s an angel,” Jeannette said. “Let’s hear what he has to say!”
“You’re probably wondering about your new gift. Open it. It’s specially created for you,” Clarence said.
“OK, open it J,” I said, still eying the stranger.
“It’s a fit-bit,” Clarence said, even before the box was open. Sure enough it was.
“Why do we need a breaking and entering actor/angel to tell us about a fit bit?” I demanded.
“The numbers are moving,” Jeannette said.
“See there it’s broken,” I barked. Nobody’s moving and this alleged fit-bit is moving.”
“It doesn’t count steps,” Clarence said. “It counts blessings. It is calibrated to reflect your special world.”
“Well I’m just standing here, what blessings can it be counting?”
“How you feeling Kev?
“Well I feel all right, pretty good I suppose.”
“You’ve got your health? That’s a blessing. And you have presents still to wrap, food to cook?
“Well you can certainly see that before you interrupted us we were well on our way to.-“
“Family and friends receiving the gifts, all blessings, resources to buy the gifts, blessings. Food to share, blessing. The lights seem to be on, blessing. Who’s that standing over there?”
“Well that, that’s my wife,” I said. “Why was I suddenly stammering?”
“Blessing!” Clarence said.
“The thing is kind of going crazy,” Jeannette said. “We must have a lot of blessings.”
“It looks as if you do count some of your blessings,” Clarence said. “But you have some uncounted and some you don’t know about, can’t know about. These are things God keeps away from you. People, viruses, whatever, with bad intentions that you never will encounter. All among God’s blessings for you.”
“Is there any drama in your family,” Clarence asked?”
“Now that you mention it, is there anything you can do about the drams?” I asked, warming to the stranger. “You see, my sister..”
“Blessings, blessings, blessings! You have family. Drama is the down side, but there is a plus said too. And this device will count it all for you.”
“But we’ve never needed help counting our blessings.”
“Oh, if you like I can give it a setting on the back, so it counts steps too.” Clarence said.
“No, let’s keep it the way it is,” Jeannette said.
By this point I was down with that. It was way too late for the go kart. We had turkey and Christmas joy to share, with blessing raining over us.
“OK, cool,” I told Jeannette. I turned to Clarence but he was gone. The bat was gone too, but that was OK. I don’t really use those any more.
So a very Merry Christmas from our house to yours. And unless you want to end up in a Jimmy Stewart movie, count your blessings this Christmas and keep on counting when the New Year comes. It’s good for your walk with God. It’s good for your outlook, good for your disposition, good for your marriage.
It’s all good.