Being thankful in all circumstances can sometimes be challenging. Within 48 hours we ran out of tank water, had an eight hour power outage and to top it off, a magpie flew into my house and pooped all over my floor, lounge and curtains. Frustrating? By all means! But so ridiculous that I had to laugh, especially when I found the bird in my house.
At first it was hard to find something to be thankful for but soon I was grateful that we were able to have water delivered to replenish the empty tank, the power eventually came back on and the magpie pooped before I washed the floor and not after. And really, it wasn't detrimental, only inconvenient for a very short time in the grand scheme of things.
In this rush to the end of the year, it can also be challenging to pause to be thankful, but reflection is important. The last few weeks of the term have seen the culmination of the year's activities, the celebrations of achievements, the end of one era and thoughts of an upcoming new one.
In amongst the busyness of it all, some lovely American friends of ours invited us to share their traditional Thanksgiving dinner 'with all the fixin's'. It was a time to pause and reflect. The table was traditionally decorated and laden with a banquet of delicious turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, salads and pecan and pumpkin pies. My friend had done an amazing job.
I was struck at what a beautiful tradition it is and how lovely it was to be sitting with family and friends, taking time out to thank God for each other and for the gifts he has given us throughout the year.
During conversation, thanks were given for God's provision and the precious gift of family, friends and people in our lives who have shared the year with us. These are gifts that live in our hearts and endure throughout the years. People make us better people, friends make us better friends and family help us to feel the belonging that God wants us to feel with him.
I sit here now as rain pours from the sky. My tanks are filling and so are those of all my neighbours. I love that God gives gifts to everyone whether they know him or not, whether they realise it or not. Babies are born every minute - a gift from God. Rain falls from the sky - a gift from God. Plants grow so that we can eat - a gift from God. Beautiful sunsets grace evening skies - a gift from God. Even the diversion on our path that keeps us from harm - a gift from God and so it goes.
James 1 verse 17 says, 'Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.'
Perhaps he is trying to get our attention and though we may be too busy to stop and say thankyou or even acknowledge The Creator, he still gives.
As we now turn our focus to Christmas with all its glitter and festivities, I am especially thankful for the gift of God's son Jesus, who came into the world not to stone or condemn the sinner, but to pay the price for them and welcome us into his home.
I love this Dr Seuss quote:
"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
―Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Perhaps Christmas does mean a little bit more - a whole lot more. Hopefully we can take the gifts God gives us and of his son and thank him throughout the whole year.
May God bless you this Christmas, and don't forget to say thank you!
Rebecca and her husband Tony, have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca loves writing children stories, interest articles and teaching piano. She is grateful for a God who loves us.
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-moore.html