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Mountains of Blessings

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In our struggles, blessings can seem far removed from us, even during the holidays.

When I am in the thick of things, looking for blessings is the farthest thing from my mind. I want solutions – I want to make things happen – I want bad times resolved or removed. I want to wake up happy.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when we stop and appreciate the good things that have happened during the year. And if we make this an ongoing habit of looking for blessings throughout the year, we will be doubly blessed.

It is in the simple things of someone reaching out to us to see how we are doing, or saying thank you when we least expect it, or just simply listening that harshness and tragedies can be reduced.

Sometimes in our haste to move past these times, we miss the blessings God is giving us – new growth and a new appreciation for what we have, no matter how small.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

—Isaiah 9:6

We have heard the story so many times in Christmas cards, articles, and sermons. It is a familiar and treasured ritual – a ritual that today is being challenged on many fronts.

But why is it being challenged? Why are there so many who are adamant about erasing the meaning of Christmas from our lives?

The challenge we have is not just looking for the blessings we have during this time period but throughout the year.

Start a gratitude journal.

Every day, consider the blessings you have received. You may not have noticed them before.

Maybe it was your child coming home on time, or your best friend calling to see if you were doing okay, or your spouse understanding why you were grumpy and snappy.

Having a ritual of writing something in your gratitude journal each day helps you recognize and appreciate those blessings. They offset the hardships you’ll encounter.

Read and reflect on you’re the things you are thankful for as you go through your day and keep adding to the list.

Stacks of Blessings

“What a stack of blessings you have piled up

For those who worship you,

Ready and waiting for all who run to you

To escape an unkind world.”

—Psalm 31, The Message

It was over Thanksgiving one year when I visited a dear friend who was losing his battle with cancer while his loving wife tended to his needs. It had been an ongoing struggle for some time.

I asked her how she was doing. She told me that at the end of each day, she and her husband would think of at least one blessing they had received that day – no matter how small. It gave them joy, smiles, peace, strength, hope, and assurance that God was with them on this journey.

In my own life, when I stopped trying to make something happen over which I had no control, and simply let God take over – and I focused instead on the blessings I received – I found peace and the energy to do all the things that needed to be done.

What blessings have you received that you may not have recognized or acknowledged?

Sometimes life is so burdensome and intense that even when we do recognize something as a blessing, we move on without thinking about what that blessing means.

We take for granted when someone says thank you for a kindness we have shown or stops to help in an emergency, or notices that we haven’t been ourselves lately and asks if everything is okay, giving us an opportunity to talk.

God’s blessings surround us.

Recognizing them can make the difference between despair and peace – from cold resignation to acceptance, hope, and motivation. Then we are able to gain a different perspective on our trials and hardships.

Good things can be found every day – not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It takes purposeful looking to recognize them.

What blessing have you received today? Let me know in the comments.

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