This morning, my daughter couldn’t find her other shoe, and it was almost time for the bus. I stood in the doorway of the mudroom, shrugging my shoulders while she frantically searched. (I spent the first six years of her life doing this scramble; I figured it was her turn.)

When she finally found it behind a bin, she looked at me in an accusatory way and said, “Here it is.”

Shrugging my shoulders deeper, I asked, “Why is it my fault?”

She said, “You know, Mom… You didn’t even ask me, ‘How did you sleep?’ this morning. You just started ordering us around about looking in the lost-and-found for our lunch bags and thermoses… I don’t know. It just feels like this bad morning is your fault.”

And then she slipped out the door and was gone. Like a Christmas Past.

I clicked off the lights so I could watch her in the dark, walking through the light snow to her bus stop.

She was right. Our entire morning exchange had been void of an essential ingredient: cheerfulness. I hadn’t smiled; I hadn’t laughed; I hadn’t given her a hug or a squeeze or even a pat on the back. I had just soldiered through, lunch-packing and breakfast-serving. And my lecturing about lost thermoses had used up the spare minutes that we usually have for reading the Bible together.

So I have a Old Year’s Resolution. For the remaining days of 2011, I want to include cheerfulness into the mix of Christmas. A smile here, a hug there, and a goodnatured chuckle everywhere. What better way to fill our home with Christmas cheer?

If you want to join me in this Old Year’s Resolution, click ‘like’ on facebook, or leave a comment that says, “I’m in!”

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