By: Carissa Lovvorn
I love how innocent young children can be. They are able to find beauty and goodness in the smallest of details, like a shiny pebble on the ground, the shape of a cloud in the sky, or how gracefully a leaf dances in a stream. Their difficult day can quickly turn around by a bubble floating by or a ladybug landing on their arm. They see the joy in life.
On Wednesday nights, I assist our church’s children’s minister with her class. At the beginning of November, the kids put together personalized Gratitude Journals that they have completed and will continue to complete during class for the rest of the month. Each page includes a Bible verse on Gratitude and blank lines for the children to write what they were grateful for from the previous week. The journal entries during the past two classes have been precious. All of the children listed big concepts like God, Jesus, church, teachers, family, and friends. And of course, there were a few funny ones like missing school, Havoc Hockey, and tackle football. But what caught my attention were the little things that they were grateful for. They listed their bed, pajamas, books, pens, paper, and spending time with a friend. These are simple items and events that adults often overlook when giving thanks.
As we age, it becomes harder to see the small blessings around us. Daily pressures from work, financial problems, parenting stress, etc. tend to drown out the goodness found in everyday life. But God calls us to be grateful for everything in all situations. Take these two verses for instance:
“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20 NIV)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Continuing to be thankful in all conditions creates a positive attitude even during tribulations. Apostle Paul is a perfect example of how one can overcome a negative state by looking for the good and thanking God the Father. During Paul’s ministry, he was beaten, shipwrecked, and imprisoned. Instead of focusing on his negative circumstances, he praised God. Paul’s actions even lead to the salvation of the prison guard and his family. In Paul’s letter to the church in Phillipi, he encouraged the members to meditate on whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and are of good report, have virtue, or praiseworthy. By embracing this attitude towards life, he expressed that they would receive the Peace of God (Philippians 4:8-9). These verses remind me of children’s ability to see the good in simple things.
During this season, I challenge everyone to view the world through a child’s eyes. Look for small, everyday things or events to be thankful for, and consider making your own Gratitude Journal.
I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.