Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

Lyrics to Irving Berlin's song

I have a lot of favourite Christmas specials and movies. There’s the Muppet Family Christmas, A Christmas Story, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales. And then there’s White Christmas. I know: it’s pretty cheesy in places, but I just love it, and Bing Crosby sounds like Christmas, right? And one of my favourite songs isn’t the title track, but is the one that he sings to Betty (played by Rosemary Clooney) called “Count Your Blessings.” It’s a sentimental song, and serves to move the relationship between the two characters ahead, and they end up singing it as a duet. The song starts with Bing singing the line, “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

It’s been another strange year, and it’s had its shares of ups and downs. We continue to live in a pandemic—this isn’t over yet, and lots of people are still getting COVID-19 for the first time—and the things that we have been able to go back to sometimes feel like shadows of what they once were. There has been physical destruction in many places; in this province, especially with the storm associated with hurricane Fiona. We have all suffered losses, and the world can seem like it’s spinning out of control. Maybe we’ve lost friends or family. As a person who has definite anxiety about change and unrest, I know how hard it can be.

But what of the blessings? We all have those too. There’s been kindness shown to us by friends and strangers alike; there is the joy of seeing people again after years of lockdowns and fear. Because I write this in advance of its publication, I have no idea what December will bring for us all, but we know that it will bring the light of the incarnation. As we read in John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

My husband and I were walking home from the grocery store literally just before I sat down to write this, and we met up with a man who we knew from living in the downtown. He told us a story about ending up in a group home, and how there was a woman there who was really unhappy about her situation. But she offered to help this man, and she encouraged him to start writing. He said that because of his writing, he was able to walk away from his addictions, and that she really changed his life for the better. It made her feel better about her situation too. It was a real blessing for both of them, and stopping to talk to him was a real blessing for us.

One of the great blessings in my life is Anglican Life, and getting to be its editor. Getting to collaborate with the many contributors and columnists is a gift. When people ask what I do, I get to tell them about being an editor for the Church newspaper for the three Anglican dioceses in Newfoundland and Labrador. I think that Anglican Life is an important ministry of the Anglian Church in our province, both for our own people, and for the wider world. Thank you for the support that you give us, both with your financial contributions and with your many beautiful articles and photographs. You are indeed a blessing, and you allow Anglican Life to continue to be in people’s lives. I am always aware of how much this paper means to all of you. Merry Christmas, and all the best for 2023.

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