A Year of Smiles – Day 345: The SMILES of Christmas

Adobe Spark

Christmas SMILE #11 (Reason to SMILE #345): THE BELLS

The story goes that one Christmas Eve when I was very young, my family was visiting my grandparents. The evening had grown late and the time to load up the car to return home had arrived. The problem is I didn’t want to leave. I was busy playing with my new Christmas toys and apparently, I was being quite the stubborn little redhead.

“Okay,” my mom declared. “You can stay here but Santa’s on his way. If you’re not in bed when he gets to our house, he’s not going to leave your presents.”

Nice try, mom. I wasn’t budging.

Just then, from the TV set, rang the metallic clanging of Christmas bells. My ears perked. My face brightened and I scrambled to my feet.

“I think I hear bells!” I exclaimed as I ran to the door to leave. Santa was coming and I had to get to bed!

I really don’t know what movie was on TV that night. I have a feeling it was something like It’s a Wonderful Life. Remember the scene at the end when George’s daughter explains, “Teacher says, ‘Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings’.”? (Watch it here.) No matter the movie or TV program, though, I heard bells and it had to be Santa’s sleigh!

Ever since that Christmas Eve so long ago, I cannot hear Christmas bells ringing without declaring “I think I hear bells!” (To myself, of course – imagine if I said it out loud! 😉 )

And I certainly can’t hear the bells of Christmas without finding a SMILE.


A Year of Smiles – Day 281

Reason to SMILE #281: SMARTIES

It’s funny the things we remember from our childhoods. I remember chasing my brothers around the house with a plastic baseball bat and getting stuck on the monkey bars because a snake had decided to crawl under me and hold me hostage. I also remember piling into a little Ford Fiesta, along with the seven other members of my family, to go to church every Sunday. And at this church was a pastor who would carry gumballs around in his suit coat pocket. All of the kids knew it and as soon as the service was over, we’d excitedly make our way to the pastor to get a piece of gum. What an impression this pastor made! With the simple gift of a piece of gum every Sunday, this pastor showed us kids how important we were to the church family.

At the church I attend now, we also have a smartiesman who is making a lasting impression on the lives of children. He is affectionately known as the “Candy Man” and the kids are always seeking him out. They all know that each Sunday he hands out Smarties and they love it! He has a big heart and loves to see the SMILE on the face of each child as he hands him or her a piece of candy. It may seem like a small gesture but I know the impact it has on these kids and the love they receive with each pack of Smarties will last a lifetime.

Oh! And each Sunday, the Candy Man makes sure I receive a pack of Smarties, as well. He walks up beside me, reaches for my hand and secretly sneaks me the candy. “You may be the Children’s Director but you’re just as little as they are. So you get a piece of candy, too!” Makes me SMILE every time.

A Year of Smiles – Day 160


It wasn’t until I saw them that I realized how much they make me SMILE.  They remind me of my childhood, of living out in the country, of camp meetings in the summer, of simpler times. So tonight, I sit in the wondrous beauty of God’s creation serenaded by the crickets and cicadas while watching the lightning bugs shine in the night…

…and I am SMILING. Oh, what peace!