The “3rd Hour of Today” had tense business to take care of this morning, January 8. Like every other morning news broadcast, Craig Melvin, Sheinelle Jones, Al Roker, and Maria Shriver (sitting in for Dylan Dreyer, enjoying maternity leave) broached the news of the Iranian-US crisis. The seasoned news veterans didn’t conceal their uneasiness regarding the situation, even before the administration’s official statement.

The producers of the “3rd Hour of Today” consistently stay on the ball to keep their gang looking their best, and keeping the segment on a positive roll.

Something providential had to be in the air, especially this morning, as the hosts described positive words and practices for 2020. Each host had something to share about beginning a day with grace and keeping positivity and gratitude, even amidst tumultuous times. Viewers always get a lift from the family feel between the “Today” team. Even though Christmas has passed, Sheinelle Jones gave a little something to Maria Shriver, thanking her for the gift of a precious moment, and Maria chose to keep it private.

3rd-hour thankfulness

The slant of “3rd Hour of Today” is purposely left on the lighter side than the opening block of “Today” in the morning, but this morning, it was quite evident that Craig Melvin wasn't the only one up through the wee hours covering Iran's missile strikes from on US coalition bases.

Every one of these four co-hosts has covered numerous features on both military families and in direct conflict zones. There is no way to sugarcoat the stresses and tensions amid this unexpected escalation. Holding on to something positive seemed equally essential for these professionals who provide the news to millions, again and again.

Sheinelle Jones opened with some of the daily counsel submitted by viewers. She particularly valued the advice: “Don't break promises to yourself,” applying to life situations across the board. Maria Shriver often shares ways to stay centered in her “Sunday Paper” newsletter, and she chooses to say that “all is well, all is good-- I have within me everything needed to handle today.”

Craig Melvin takes comfort from more ancient words.

He keeps the words from Scripture in his closet. The broadcaster did not mention the exact verse, but the words of Joshua 1:9 contain his words of focus. “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Melvin turns to that assurance every morning and every night before sleep.

It would be easy to think that Sheinelle Jones would grow weary of anything to do with morning headlines, but the mom of three described how the morning news actually helps her keep family needs and complaints “all in perspective.” She also makes time for spiritual focus, praying with her husband in the morning.

Sheinelle also reflected on being particularly empathetic with parents through the recent uptick in RSV cases. She and Al Roker endured RSV issues with their children, and Sheinelle recalled her first day back from maternity leave, followed by a night at the hospital with her son.

Plugs and presents

The senior member of “3rd Hour of Today,” Mr.Roker, always has a project in the works, whether it's a dish in the oven, a Broadway run, or a run-in with a stick of butter. His 13th book will release in June, and its title is taken purely from true life. “You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Success and Absurdity.” Roker had to draw his inspiration from his time teaching broadcasting over the past few months, and he swears he's heard the exact title hundreds of times, with fans never considering what it truly conveys.

In the same vein, Maria Shriver told how a well-meaning lady complimented that “you look just like Maria Shriver did 20 years ago” while Shriver was having lunch with her daughter. Maria graciously accepted the intent, while her daughter was aghast. She admitted that she did take a few extra looks in the bathroom mirror after the exchange.

Speaking of exchanges, Sheinelle Jones thanked Maria for a moment of “really pausing, listening, and focusing,” in a personal conversation. The sensitive Shriver was already getting teary when her small package, wrapped in glittery gold, was offered from Jones. Initially, Jones asked Hoda Kotb for help in delivering the gift, but the theme of grace and gratitude made today the perfect moment.

Rather than an on-air reveal, Maria chose to open her gift privately. She extended her hands to Sheinelle across the table.

More words were surely shared between the ladies, and millions of viewers got a lifting reminder in grace, even on this heavy day, from the four on “3rd Hour of Today.” Thoughts truly do count.