Each week, in the preschool worship class I teach, I lead the children in prayer before their snack. I pray a line, then they repeat it after me. We get very specific. “Thank you God, for Kool-Aid. Thank you God, for cheese crackers. Thank you God for Jesus. Amen!”
Teaching children has taught me to be thankful for the smallest of details. So many times, when I sit down to a meal and I look at the splendid variety in front of me, I’m just overwhelmed with how much God has blessed me. I subscribe to the magazine and email newsletter posted by the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian group who helps and champions the cause of persecuted Christians. My heart wrenches in pain when I read of the sacrifices these people make for the sake of their faith. Usually, persecution begins with social rejection leading to poverty. They are poor partly because of the country they live in. They then become the poorest of the poor because they are not allowed to get jobs or the provider of the family is in jail.
So when I sit down to my meal of plenty, I am so humbled that God blesses me with fresh fruits and vegetables, more meat than I really ought to have, and a meal that is different than the meal that I had the night before. Even with our simple meal yesterday afternoon of homemade Minestrone soup and herb flavored crackers, I shook my head in wonder at all the ingredients I could afford to put in my soup. I also felt thankful that I had the time and the talent to make homemade nutritious soup for my family.
Thanksgiving is coming, the day we thank God for our simplest of blessings. Like the Pilgrims, we’ll thank God for the blessings of home, hearth, family and food. Like any skill, proficiency at gratefulness needs practice. Get ready for Thanksgiving next week by taking a second look at the meal in front of you and saying thank you to the Lord for each part of that meal. Then, when next Thursday rolls around and your table groans in protest from the weight of the blessings of abundance, you’ll be ready to humbly thank God for the food He has given you and so much more.
What I’m thankful for this week:
1. My good friend Marilyn who has been such an encouragement this week in my newest writing project. Thanks, Marilyn, for our breakfast breaks!
2. A free week from teaching this coming Sunday. I love to teach, but I need my spiritual batteries recharged. It just so happened (yeah, right) that I’m “off” for both Sunday School and preschool worship.
3. A clean kitchen! I had a late night meeting last night and my daughter not only loaded the dishwashers, she washed the rest of the dishes that wouldn’t fit and cleaned the counters. What a beautiful sight to come home to!
4. Beautiful weather. Tuesday afternoon in northeast Ohio was beyond beautiful. I think God sprinkles in days like that in the midst of winter just to help us keep going in the colder months and to remind us winter won’t last forever.
5. Food sales the week before Thanksgiving. Need I say more??