This small book by Frances Parkinson Keyes, one of my favorite authors when I was young, is actually a 1959 compilation of years of her Christmas cards that were messages to her friends and family.
I have a whole shelf of her novels and nonfiction, almost every book she ever wrote. Her husband was United States Senator from New Hampshire and Keyes proved through years of traveling the world to write her books that you could lead a productive life even though in poor health.
I love her novels but her own life makes her one of my heroines. Here is a small excerpt from one of her Christmas letters in this book.
I have the gift of work. I am doing work that I love, in surroundings that I have chosen, and I have the assurance that it is going well. For a long time, my tasks were hard and thankless. Nothing about them suggested a benefit received. All that is different now.
I have the gift of health. For many years I was an invalid, for many others a cripple. Now, though still very lame, I am otherwise well.
I have the gift of companionship...When we [family and friends] can get together, it is a time of great rejoicing; but, when we cannot, we do not repine...
I have the gift of faith: faith in myself, long lost; faith in humanity, long shattered; faith in the future, long dark; faith in God, omnipresent. I think faith is the greatest gift of all.
And I do too.