Gratitude for Blessings Large and Small

Do you ever look back through your journals to see what you were thankful for on any given day? Do the memories that pop up on Facebook remind you of the gratitude expressed in other years? Or maybe you spend time in front of family photos today, reminding yourself of a happy day, and thanksgiving overwhelms your soul!

“Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted — a paved road or a washing machine?  If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”  

Rabbi Harold Kushner

As I look back in previous writings, a few lines resonate with me still!

Isaac Watts penned the hymn, Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed, also called sometimes, At the Cross. Surprisingly the fourth stanza is most often omitted and it is in that stanza this thought is found … “Thus might I hide my blushing face while his dear cross appears; dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.”  That phrase, “dissolve my heart in thankfulness” is my prayer for the next several weeks!

I thought myself a grateful soul,
Until deep testing took its toll,
And gratitude became a chore,
With less I dared be thankful for.

But then I learned it’s Him alone,
Not circumstance or what I own,
For Whom I find the thankfulness,
That honors Him and He can bless.

~ source unknown 

Christopher Wright says in his book, Knowing the Holy Spirit Through the Old Testament, “the same Spirit of God who was at work in creation is also at work in that same wider sense, in all those who, as human beings made in God’s image, enrich our world  with all kinds of creativity in art, music, colorful design, beautiful craftsmanship.”

This weekend, while visiting my sisters, we watched the latest James Bond movie, enjoyed the symphony playing the soundtrack to The Princess Bride, and sang worship songs with the worship team at their church. We talked about our latest favorite reads, our hobbies, and of course our grandchildren. In all of these experiences, we celebrated the artistic talents surrounding us!

I’m grateful for artistic expression, craftsmanship, and the amazing beauty that fills the senses!

  • For the art of baking … the rich smell of fresh bread filling a kitchen
  • For the many shades of a single color – a joyful painting of a sunset
  • For a well-designed home – textures and colors that invite family to gather
  • For the beauty of music that lightens the soul
  • For a well-written sentence that sparks the imagination

Perhaps art can help us to look beyond the immediate beauty with all its puzzles, and to glimpse that new creation which makes sense not only of beauty but of the world as a whole, and ourselves within it … The artist can then join forces with those who work for justice and those who struggle for redemptive relationships, and together encourage and sustain those who are reaching out for a genuine, redemptive spirituality. 

NT Wright

Henry Ward Beecher encourages me from his words, “Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page.”  Today I start with a fresh page in journaling my gratitude for the many blessings – large and small – that surround me.

“Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more – a grateful heart ….
Not thankful when it pleases me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.”

George Herbert, “Gratefulness”, The Temple
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