My gift is a string of words wishing peace for all of you

My Christmas letter:

On paper, on a computer or from my head and heart in front of audiences, I string words together as easy as I lay paint on a canvas. Writing letters for the paper has been a joy for me since I was encouraged to do so by the late Patty Martone so many years ago.

Words this year come with hesitation and pain. A usual feeling of holiday joy with sights, sounds and confection aromas is mixed with faces our family has lost in recent months. Saying goodbye to an incredible nephew and a sister gave my faith a jolt, if not a lingering challenge. Christmas is blurred, perhaps elusive in some ways.

When Australian singer Straalen McCallum was 12, he recorded a beautiful song, ”Sometimes a Prayer Will Do.” We stumble, we may fall, question and search for answers or a friend. Sometimes, a prayer will do. The lyrics can’t help but to touch hearts, especially at Christmas.

I am always reminded of the unyielding strength of a heart when it’s broken and time is needed to mend. For many, it will be a work in progress.

Like a rooftop weather vane, I twist and turn with my thoughts and feelings this Christmas.

I know and have always known that Christmas must be stronger than a candle’s glow or the brightest of lights. Christmas and Hanukkah, too, can, indeed, offer each of us wonderful unwrapped gifts like family and friends, neighbors and co-workers who share the meaning of a special day.

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are etched and placed on cards and calendars. We must set aside moments for pondering and reflection, capturing and keeping these beyond their dates.

The artist that I am will envision a winter’s blanket of snow on a lawn or tree branch as a painting before my critical eyes see slippery, salted roadways.

Eggnog and Mexican wedding cake cookies will return me to family homes where my mom and sisters filled the kitchen with holiday aroma and happy chatter. Needless to say, a lifetime of blessings must endure as memory lane jaunts are taken. We will be missing Neil and Cindy at our family meals, but will feel their presence.

Blessings of independent living, my special shower and Trine University friends are on my list. I am so grateful to my Facebook pals who lifted me higher, too. Good health, frequent trips to the car wash, new friends at Cookie Cottage and those who pump my gas at various stations are in my blessing stocking, too.

If you have little ones under your roof, buckling boots for romps in the snow or reading their favorite bedtime story, even spilling milk at the table, enjoy every second. If you have illness in your home, reach out and try the prayer idea. If you are void of Christmas spirit, it’s OK, for it lives in your soul.

My gift to you is just a string of words blended with sincerity in wishing you peace, happiness and a wonderful Hanukkah and a very merry Christmas. <br>

<i> Terry E. Haffner is a resident of Fort Wayne. </i>