Your Gratitude Garland
One of our nearby towns used to have the very best dollar store.
It wasn’t like dollar stores today. It was a quaint little store downtown with old wood floors, and aisles upon aisles of treasures. Because money was sparse, it was a favorite spot to shop when my kids were little.
Going all out with your decor for the holidays wasn’t as big a deal back then. Perhaps because we didn’t have social media to compare our decor, (or lack thereof) to others. At the time, I can remember watching a Thanksgiving special on television with my children. I saw a mantle lit up with an incredible array of Autumn radiance, and I wished for that. Beautiful Fall leaves in rich colors, with fruits and berries and twinkling lights.
That week when we stopped by the dollar store, I knew I wanted to recreate the look. That wonderful old store had a section full of exactly what I was looking for. Because I couldn’t afford to buy it all at once, every week I would purchase five items to add to my leaf garland, hoping that the following week there would still be more to choose from. I did this for a whole month until I finally had the look my heart had longed for…
With the holidays quickly approaching, it can become easy to lose sight of the bountiful array each holiday represents. Going into a month of humbling gratitude that leads us right into a month of adoration for a Savior born to man.
The whole world seems to skip past the gratitude of this month and fast forward to the “happy” holiday with its festive music, presents and decorations, myself included. It makes us reminisce back to traditions and “feel good” moments. Everyone wants that happy feeling.
But in the rush to achieve this happiness, it ends up alluding us. With the frenzy of skipping right past the gratitude, the stress of all the “to do’s”(with not enough time to do them) comes too quickly and overwhelms us. Instead of enjoying what should be a beautiful time, we miss the wonder of it all and the gratitude for it.
We want that bountiful array, but we want it all right now. Suddenly you’re being asked if you have your decorating and shopping done. If you have your cookies baked. If your tree is up. If you are going to attend the many Christmas activities and parties being held. And in all of that, we miss the gratitude for Jesus.
As the end of 2021 quickly approaches, I want to encourage you today to slow down. Determine to take in every single moment of this month. Don’t rush right past it. Each week pick out 5 things to be thankful for. Ponder them. Cherish them. Treasure them. Don’t try to fast forward to the whole package, instead take one day at a time and with a heart of thankfulness, move into the season of our Savior with overwhelming gratitude instead of overwhelming stress. You won’t have to worry if there will be enough to be thankful for as each week passes, you will have a bounty to choose from if you’re truly looking and your garland of gratitude will become fuller and fuller as you add to it…
I still have that garland and all the items I purchased for it so many years ago. I still put it up every year. I still wonder in amazement as I add each piece and look at that beautiful array when I’m finished. I’m sure that nowadays I could just purchase a pre-made garland full of all the things that make mine beautiful, but I would lose the special joy in adding each piece and remembering. Years and years of thankful memories flood my heart as I slowly put mine together, and I am reminded of all the gifts God has bestowed upon this undeserving soul of mine.
Savor in the sacredness of the season to come by slowing down and focusing on today and the bountiful array of glory God has given you to be grateful for. Don’t miss it. Don’t try to grasp for happiness without thankfulness. Happiness comes from a thankful heart. Thankfulness for the little pieces of beauty God adds to every day and gratefulness for a Savior born to take away the sins of all of mankind.
Yes, savor in the sacredness and sacrifice of your Savior and look back on this season in grateful amazement at the array of wonder you hold in your heart.
Wonder you will treasure for years to come.
I Thessalonians 5:18
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