Have you ever found yourself reflecting over the past year on New Year’s Eve? If you’re like me you know that good things have happened over the last 12 months, but you really struggle when you try to remember exactly what they were. This is a difficulty when it’s been a good year, but when you’ve had one of those years that you would really just like to forget, it’s almost impossible.
This was the case with my dear sister in Christ, Cris. During a beautifully taught lesson in our Ladies’ Bible class this past spring she shared with us her struggles as the previous year drew to a close. Within a matter of months this dear sister lost her father-in-law, her mother-in-law, and then lost her husband suddenly. By the time the holiday season came around she knew that good things had happened, she knew that she had been blessed throughout the year, but after so much struggle and heartache she honestly couldn’t remember what those blessings were.
Her solution? A Blessing Jar. I thought this was such a beautiful idea that I immediately began one for our family. My first stop was to Hobby Lobby (with a 40% off coupon of course!) to pick out the perfect jar. From there I went to Wal-Mart & picked up a package of post-it sized papers, & some “special” pens to keep by the jar (which my kiddos promptly lost, but it was a nice thought.) I then took our goodies home and found the perfect spot for our jar (where it would be a constant reminder, where the kids could easily reach it to add their blessings, but where it would also be difficult for it to get knocked down and broken.)
Then it was time to begin filling our jar! Over the last several months our family has had a lot of fun with this, writing down our blessings big and small every day and then safely tucking them away in our jar. We have decided that our New Year’s Eve tradition will be to sit down as a family and take turns drawing and reading the notes. I have to be honest, the anticipation is already getting to us!
While all of this has been fun and exciting, it has also had an unexpected effect: our family has been a lot more thankful in general. We are much more inclined to notice and express appreciation for the little things, and we are also a lot more inclined to show appreciation to each other. Daily my kids are thanking their daddy and I for one thing or another, and I have even noticed them watching each other and expressing appreciation for the small efforts put out by their siblings. While we are not perfect and still struggle, what a great environment to strive for!
Colossians 3:15 tells us quite simply, “be thankful.” While this sounds simple and basic, I fear that oftentimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our lives that we forget this very simple command. Ephesians 5:20 says, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are clearly commanded to be a thankful people, but this isn’t something that happens on accident. Developing an attitude of thankfulness is something that takes intentionality and effort.
With this in mind, how great would it be if we had a visual reminder in our home to be thankful every single day?
How great would it be if we made a point to notice the little things God has blessed us with every single day? What if we could literally watch our blessings pileup throughout the year? Will you join me in this endeavor? Will you join me in committing to develop an attitude of thankfulness every single day?
I leave you with the words of Paul, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,” Ephesians 1:16.