I am glad that I send Christmas cards. Each year, though, I dread the work that I put into those cards. I can't just sign one and mail it. I want to pick a card that I think is right for the person(s) receiving the card and add at least some sort of special note on it with an update or personal comment to them. As the holidays go on and cards are sent and others arrive here at the house, I bask in the notes, colors, and contact with people in our life. I arrange the incoming cards around the doorway between our living room and dining room, and they will stay there for months, showering us with the messages sent.

This year I had a few cards to write after Christmas Day. I decided there was no rule against that and settled myself again into the thoughts and feelings of that writing. It was a pleasure. As I was writing one of those cards, I was wishing them Blessings and started to talk about Blessings all around us. I caught myself, realizing I did not have to give them a mini-blog on my experiences with Blessings there on their Christmas card. My wishes for them were enough.

But the desire to comment on Blessings remains, and I bring it here - more appropriately - to my blog to share with you, my Christmas card to you. No, my thoughts here are not new, but I believe it is important to remind our self that Blessings are around us every day in all sorts of forms and all sorts of sizes.

It is easy to think of Blessings as those which are large and make a significant difference in life or death, in health or disease, in marriage or divorce. These are true and important Blessings. So is food on our table and warmth in our homes and the beds we sleep in. But Blessings are also in small, unexpected packages: the kindness of a stranger, sunlight coming in a window, a found object that delights, being remembered in some way, remembering someone else in some way, laughing, feeling the breeze on your face.

Two days ago - on the first day of this New Year - my husband and I were out walking Eddie, the black lab. As we were going by one of my flower beds, I couldn't believe what I was seeing in one of the flower pots there among the brown leaves: A hyacinth was blooming! It is pink and has three fully formed plants. My brain at first told me it was an artificial flower. I have no artificial flowers in the yard, but my brain did not think it was possible for it to be real. And it is. A small, beautiful Blessing as we enter the dead of winter.

The hard frosts are coming this week we are told. So I have brought the hyacinth in and have it on our kitchen table to enjoy. Every time I walk by it, I can smell it wonderful fragrance, and I marvel at this most special gift.