I was sitting in my early morning chair, thinking about gratitude. I wrote some things in my Moleskine. And I looked at the blanket on my lap. It’s a lap blanket, just the right size to keep the chill away while drinking coffee and reading Colossians and thinking about gratitude. We got it from one of my sisters a few years back. I took if from the sofa where it was resting next to a larger blanket made by my other sister and next to the old blanket I got from my grandfather forty-years ago. It was an odd gift at the time, a blanket for a teenage boy. But we still have it. We still use it. It’s still warm. Nancy and I each get a blanket when we sit downstairs Sunday afternoons and nap.

As I walk through how house, there are two more blankets in our living room, one from my mom, the other a wedding present. There is another up in our bedroom on the trunk. And Hope’s bed is covered by a quilt Nancy made.

I know. Some of these would be called shawls or throws or afghans. But every one of them has a story. The story-less blankets live in the closet or on the bed, hidden.

Handmade blankets capture bits of life and love with yarn and then warm you in times of doubt or dread or fatigue. They remind you that once upon a time, someone thought of you and did this to remind you for the rest of the blanket’s life.

In some translations of John 14:16, Jesus promises a comforter. It’s a mere play on words to make the connection to a blanket. The original image is of an advocate or helper. But when I think of hands working to make blankets that keep us warm and remind us of love, I’m grateful for my sisters and the Holy Spirit.

This is the fourth in a series of reflections on gratitude.