An Advent Table: What is a Sonshine Bearer?

This post continues the thoughts begun earlier...

This pre-advent season here has seen: girl speaks less online for awhile, later girl catches a cold, girl's cold deepens, girl gets laryngitus and now isnt speaking in the "real world" really either. And funny thing that. Now that i literally can't speak right now in person (i havent spoken for days now) and must write all the little things i'd like to say to anyone down and hand the paper over, well it shocks me just how much whining and complaining and worrying i do and express, the subtle edge there. Somehow when you need to write it out instead you stop mid sentance and think, "hey was i about to say that? I don't need to say that".

It took this voice-losing of late to realize just how bad this stuff is getting. And i think this way of being, this reacting testily and reactively to things (rather than calmly and with reflection "pondering these things in one's heart"), well its what leads to so many conflicts between people i think. I sure know i've either furthered or even initiated conflicts this way when i look back, and am becoming more and more the sorry for it. It sure doesnt take much, its subtle... an edge to the voice, an impatience in the heart, a lack of trusting in some way, and that stuff just echoes out... and then folks respond in kind and it spirals out even more. I so long for this to change. I long instead to be more of a a "Sonshine bearer". I long to live this season (and this life) of awaiting a deeper dance with the the King of Peace by actually becoming more peaceful.

And as keepers at home we have a extra special responsibility there. In a favorite post of mine Elise of A Path Made Straight points out how we truly hold the keys in setting the day's tone, and to me this really illuminates what it means dto be a Sonshine bearer. From
her post:

""“I am the one holding the keys to the atmosphere in our home.” Terri Maxwell, Homeschooling With a Meek and Quiet Spirit

What an awesome, and sometimes, unwanted responsibility. To carry the burden of setting the tone for the day bears such weight. And such power.

I cannot investigate the “why” of this quote. I do hold the keys, and so, with faith, I accept that and now consider how I use them.

I recognize that I set the thermostat in our home. I also recognize that there have been times my family probably wished they could set the temperature “warmer”, to remove the arctic chill brought on by my hurt feelings. And I’m sure they’ve wished they could move the gauge “cooler”, to relieve the heat caused by my burning anger.

Earth's atmosphere, made up of a layer of gases surrounding it and retaining its’ gravity, is commonly known as “air”.

Would I deny my family air?

Certainly not.

But I have denied them a smile that would have started out the day just right. I’ve denied my husband the blessing of a kiss good-bye before he left for work, just because I was tired, or distracted. I’ve denied my children an encouraging look when they’ve been stymied by their schoolwork. I’ve denied myself the peace of falling into bed with a contented heart, simply because I’m unhappy with how I handled the day...

May I be a wise and compassionate key-keeper. May I always be mindful of the atmosphere of my home; of my part in the air. May God in His mercy overshadow me with his grace, and when I fail, may I remember that He, in His wisdom, made me a key-keeper."

In another post Elise uses the image of lighting a healing candle among the chaos, another lovely way of seeing this, from

"Through the thin walls, shouting can be heard, and the voices are not kind. I rub Corban's back as he tenses, and gently turn Micah's chin back to his work as he looks up in anxiety. Mama holds it together on the surface, but below the surface, emotion is roiling...

All too soon, I think of the home we left. The wide open country spaces, no fences; rivers, trees and tall grasses for little boys to explore. I begin to fret that my boys will be stifled in this small space. I regret that I cannot send them out to run for a fifteen minute break from their books. I feel guilt that I do not pack things up more often for a walk or a roam on the grass down below.

Beloved, I do not send the fear, nor the guilt. I send opportunity.

An opportunity. Yes, Lord. I understand.

An opportunity to smile as I pull the glass door closed quietly, instead of with a bang. As my children look on, I show them how to handle these moments with grace. Stepping lightly to the baked apple pie candle on the counter and lighting it, filling the rooms of our home with delicious, autumn scent.

An opportunity to speak words of truth to my little ones as the voices we hear through the walls bring fear.

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4)
Let's pray and ask God to help them, shall we? Bowing our heads and offering up our neighbors to His care. Singing aloud the song of David. Remembering that perfect love drives out fear.

An opportunity for creativity in the face of what seems a stifling of that gift."

And vintage reflections in this area abound too. We see Sonshine bearers in characters in books like Little Women (in particular through Beth). And another reflection of note is from Mabel Todd's 1922 book Beautiful Girlhood. From

"Could a girl ask for a better calling than that of a joy maker for all about her?

Every girl must meet her share of bumps in life. If they do not come soon, they must come late. It is impossible that she should pass through life in the sunshine all the time. She must have her share of shadow. She cannot escape it. But it is not the deep shadows that generally cloud a girl’s life and make her unhappy and sullen. It is the little things, insignificant in themselves, and which could have been passed by with hardly a thought if resisted one by one, that irritate the temper and mar the happiness. Every day our girl will meet with circumstances in which she has her choice between frowning and sending back a stinging retort, or smiling and passing them by with a kind word. If she can pass these little bumps and keep sweet, then she has mastered the art of being sunny....

There is a real art in smiling. Some people smile, or grin, all the time, and it becomes monotonous to those who look at them. These grinning people never seem to think whom or what their smile is for. It is as if their mouths were made in that form. Other people have the kind of smile upon their faces that suggests sarcasm. But there are still others, and I have met girls who had mastered the art, whose smiles are tear chasers. There is something so understanding in their glance and smile, that they make you feel that they care for you and want you to be happy. Sometimes when I have been discouraged or depressed by trials all my own, a bright, hopeful smile from someone has cheered me amazingly. In fact, we are very much dependent upon each other for courage and happiness. Then let us be dispensers of joy as we go through life, smiling and glad. If I am in trouble, having acted foolishly in something or other, then I do not appreciate the grinning smile. I would rather the face that looked into mine would express a little understanding and feeling for my trouble, or that it would not notice my foolishness at all; when I find a friend who can meet me this way, then that friend becomes a real comfort and joy...

No matter how a girl is situated in life, she can find something to be thankful for... Is she strong and well? She then has a heritage that can be used to good advantage in this busy world, but if she is weak and frail her life can brighten the home. Often the sick one is the most cheery of the family, in spite of her pain. Everyone can be a sunshine bearer. God smiles on all who are willing to carry His smiles on to others.

In one home the daughter is a willing helper, ready to do all that her young hands can do to lighten the load, and she is a constant blessing to her mother, but she forgets to carry with her a cheery, sunny smile. Her heart becomes vexed and unpleasant, and her words sharp and cutting. The little ones watch Sister’s face to see if she is cross. Mother’s gentle voice often has to speak to her in soothing tones, “Daughter, I know you are tired, but do not make it unpleasant for the little ones. We have much to do, but love lightens it all the way.” How often I have wished that to her other graces this dear girl would add sunshine."

Well this girl, at midlife lol, is finally ready i hope. I don't think its ever too late to become a Sonshine bearer...

(Image from

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