Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Counting Blessings

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, it was the only major holiday we had away from home because, for pastor's families, Christmas and Easter are always spent at home. But every Thanksgiving, we would go to church on Wednesday night and then leave for the grandparents' immediately after the service. It seemed to take forever (Google maps says that it was only about 3 hours) and we inevitably fell asleep in the car and awoke in our familiar room at Grandma's house with wonderful smells wafting up from the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. In my little girl memories it snowed every year; this is probably incorrect but it is how I remember it. We would leave home in cold, wet, brown fall and wake up to untouched winter white splendor.

Before we fell asleep we always played the Thanksgiving version of the Alphabet Game in the car. Instead of I'm going on a trip and I'm taking a ___________ we would scramble to find something to be thankful for starting with each letter of the alphabet. (I know - this was sooooo little house on the prairie!) Thirty years later I became the driver and we played the same game over many long Thanksgiving road trips. And this year, on the night before Thanksgiving, I plan to fall asleep chanting "I am thankful for Austin's weirdness, I am thankful for books, I am thankful for church, and dogs, and Emily, and friends, and Gracie, and holidays, and", well, you get the idea. I could repeat this litany many times, changing every item - I am blessed beyond any deserving.

Most of us are blessed beyond measure and, as we barrel toward the ultimate consumer holiday, it is fitting that we stop and count up what we already have. It is the season of Thanks, and it's immediately followed by the season of Giving. Giving, not Getting.

I think it's easier for children to turn their attention toward giving if they are mindful of what they already have. So, after you have given Thanks, eaten turkey and dressing and cranberries and watched some football, I have a suggestion. Count your blessings. Then consider joining the Advent Conspiracy. You can check it out here:

Let your kids help you figure out who really could use a gift. Then, let them help pick it out. Or let them help figure out what to skip so that you can give more away. The video says it all - $10 Billion could solve the world's water issues. I am thankful that I can walk into my kitchen, turn on the tap and find clean water flowing out of it. Hot or cold - whatever I want! Next year, wouldn't it be awesome if we could be thankful that people all over the world have clean water?

1 comment:

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm thankful for you, Julie.