Do you buy event or travel tickets early to ensure the best view? Some concert attendees select seating close to the stage, and many frequent fliers prefer a window seat glimpse of the clouds.
Years ago, at a rainy college football game, I appreciated the no-umbrellas-in-the-stadium rule because I preferred getting drenched in my poncho rather than having an obstructed view.
The way we face life’s circumstances can distort our view of God’s blessings and hinder our gratitude. It’s like watching a stage play from the last row of a large theater. Thankfulness can slip from the fingers of our heart when we fail to concentrate on blessings.
In our area, autumn beauty arrived later than usual this year. Due to limited summer rainfall, some of the leaves turned crispy brown and fell early. This week, however, God’s pre-winter palette commands center stage and calls for front row seats.
I read about the scarlet reds and fire-bright golds but had I not looked for myself, I would have missed the splendor. Forgetting God’s blessings is like closing my window blinds and only imagining our Bradford pear with its Christmas-tree-like color sparkling in the sun.
One morning I looked out of partially opened blinds and saw only a couple of limbs on our pear tree bedecked with leaves of orange and yellow.
Peering through the slats in the blinds is like being somewhat grateful but not fully experiencing and expressing our gratitude to God—possibly because we are comparing our blessings to those of others or harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts.
Like the slats in the blinds, those sinful attitudes thwart awareness of the ways God works in our lives. Conversely, turning our focus to Him and His blessings generates a heart of thanksgiving.
When I fully opened the blinds, I saw more limbs of the almost thirty-year-old tree and noticed brilliant sunlight filtering through the branches. As the blinds obscured less of my view, I saw more of the beautiful tree as well as additional colors.
Yesterday, I claimed a front-row “seat” by walking around the magnificent pear tree, a gift from my dad who now gazes at heaven’s grandeur.
With nothing blocking my view, I saw leaves tinged in coral and others wearing a deep purple hue. I noticed the strong trunk that supports the limbs and the tiny golden-brown berries clinging to small branches.
Like you, I want to enjoy God’s blessings with unhindered eyes, recognizing His provision and remembering His goodness. I want my heart to be filled with gratitude and overflowing with praise this week and every week.
What hinders our gratitude? Busyness at this time of year can sidetrack our intent to give thanks, even on a day designed for enumerating our blessings.
That, dear friends, would mean we (including me) are too busy. Instead of saying, “Stop and smell the roses,” perhaps we should say, “Stop and take a walk or drive to see seasonal beauty and thank God for His creation and provision.”
Other hindrances to gratitude are sinful attitudes that blur our vision of God’s kindness. Let’s ask Him to forgive bitterness, envy, resentment, or any other sinful thoughts that may be lurking under the surface of our smiles (1 John 1:9).
Rather than scrutinizing the bounty of others, let’s thank our heavenly Father for His generosity as we develop a heart of contentment.
Now we’re ready to look through open blinds and take a walk as we ponder God’s goodness to us. Here are some ways to make Thanksgiving a season of gratitude:
- Thank Him for His greatest blessing, the gift of salvation. Jesus died on the cross that we could have forgiveness, fellowship with Him now, and eternal life (John 3:16).
- Pray the words of the psalmist who understood the value of praising God for Who He is and His gifts.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;Psalm 145:3
And His greatness is unsearchable.
- Look for blessings that you might ignore on other days. How many can you list today? Try writing some down or creating tally marks as you thank God for them.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!Psalm 118:1
For His mercy endures forever.
Before we gather with friends and family, let’s grab a window seat or a chair on the front row to ensure we grasp the fullness of God’s blessings.