The Little Things
Every year, we celebrate Christmas morning with my mom. sisters, and their families. All the food, games, noise, presents, chaos, time spent with family, and laughter makes it one of my favorite parts of the holiday!
Years ago, when all our children were small or not born yet, the adults would exchange gifts as couples. As our families grew, this became expensive and so the adults switched to exchanging handmade gifts. While fun, I’m not sure this cost any less and after a few years we had used up all of our creative ideas. I think we did a white elephant gift game one year, but it didn’t really catch on as a yearly thing.
Then, several years ago, my sister came up with the idea of doing stockings for the adults. Each person could only put one $1.00 item in each stocking. This was such a hit that we have continued it ever since. My brother-in-law built a stocking “tree”, we all send out stocking gift lists to each other, and every year the stockings are filled to overflowing. When the kids turned 18, they stopped receiving gifts and joined in on the adult stocking gift exchange. It’s a graduation of sorts. Every child that turned adult will tell you that they much prefer the stocking gift exchange over the gifts. And I understand why!
The $1.00 items we get in the stockings are all things that might be picked up throughout the year. Nail files, pens, a spatula, an ice scraper, a pair of fuzzy gloves, a pair of dollar-store reading glasses…none of these are the spectacular gifts we once dreamed about as children, but they are fun to open! Throughout the year, when I use my nice-smelling soap or open up another pack of pocket Kleenex, I remember when I received them and how much I appreciate them.
Reflecting on this makes me realize how much we take the little blessings from God for granted. During this time of year, it seems like we are surrounded by reminders to be thankful. Most of those reminders are so commonplace that they are easy to tune out. We are thankful when the Lord answers our big prayers, but do we take time to thank Him and appreciate the “little” blessings or do we not give them a second thought because they are always there?
I am not just talking about the physical things, although we have so much to be thankful for. But do we thank Him for the intangible things, as well? A sunny day? Laughing with a family member? Doing a load of laundry (because you have clothes & soap to wash them with)? An opportunity to serve? The privilege to come alongside fellow believers and share their burden in prayer? The ability to come together and worship the Lord and hear the Word?
These are precious blessings! They may not seem like a big deal until you think about what it would be like without them. These are all the provision of our loving Father.
He so loved us that He sent His Son to die for us! How is it that we can make any “little” gift from Him so commonplace that we don’t take time to acknowledge or appreciate it?
We are to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (PSALM 100:4)
When we start practicing thankfulness, we will start seeing the Lord’s work all around us. And then how can we help but to give Him all honor and glory and praise for all that He has done!
…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.