By Cheryl D. Fields

Where have you seen God’s grace this season?    

As Christmas draws near, I’m always prompted to take stock of my blessings. Dwight and I have incredible friends, both in our personal and our work lives. We have an amazing church family that is a constant source of joy, inspiration and fun. Our children are healthy, strong, smart and kind. And the unflagging love Dwight and I have for each other runs deep. This has been a tough year for our family-owned business. But I know this season of drought will eventually pass. Personal struggle not only makes me more aware of God’s grace, it inspires me to extend grace to others. 

How do you find peace and calm in chaos? 

Every morning — no matter the weather — my dog, Max, and I take a long walk. We might trek to the Potomac river, or to the local pond, or sometimes just through the woods around our house. Max is the impetus for these daily excursions, but they are often the highlight of my day.

I’ve always loved nature walking. When I lived in California, I would often work through my issues by retreating to the beach or the mountains. I still miss the roar of the ocean and the rich fragrance of eucalyptus trees on a hilltop. But when I moved to the D.C. area, I was thrilled to discover the abundance of wonderful hiking trails, bike paths, waterways, and wildlife here. How can I stare into the eyes of a doe nursing her fawn, hear the song of geese flying overhead, or watch squirrels and chipmunks scamper underfoot without feeling God’s peaceful presence? My daily hikes with Max are a ritual prayer and meditation. They remind me I’m part of God’s phenomenal creation, too, and help me to put life’s chaos into perspective.

How has God’s hope shone on you and others this Christmas season?

This Christmas season, I see God’s hope in the children around me. It’s in my own children’s achievements and the way they care for their friends. It’s in the four babies that have been born to our UCP friends over the past few months: Lucien Venteau-Koch, Maji Cudjoe, Sophia Block, and Conrad Wilson. It’s in the way UCP’s children relate to one another and to the adults who care for them. More broadly, I see it in the way young people around the globe are pushing their elders to take better care of our planet; God’s planet. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus implores us to “become like little children … .”  

Children love openly, they express joy freely, they are awed by nature, they are resilient, they believe in things they can’t see, they love to solve problems, and they cherish their friends and family.

Like baby Jesus, we’re all born with these virtues. To me, every new birth offers confirmation that God hasn’t given up on us yet. So, how can I not have hope?   

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