Before the household awakens, I awake. It is a special time of day for me, to sit quietly while it is yet dark, to contemplate my God and my life, and await first light of the new day. I love first light.
It’s a few days before Thanksgiving Day, so I start my annual list of blessings. It is my very own tradition, one I keep while many of my beloved traditions have fallen away like autumn leaves.
I number gifts. Nothing is too small or insignificant. Some are manna in the wilderness. Some are as brilliant and beautiful as spring flowers. Others are like a star in the night sky, a beacon pointing the way through a dark and sorrowful season. But they are gifts, all of them, from a loving God who uses all things to work out good, bringing life from death and beauty from ashes.
I look around this old house; it holds memories a plenty. I am grateful for the dear ones who have graced us with their presence, who have shared themselves with us. My people are treasures, young, older, and in-between, unique like snowflakes, and I marvel at their warmth and tenderness, that they want to come, to be with us.
I count the ordinary – strong, hot coffee; comforty bed with warm blankets; indoor plumbing; food enough; squirrels that play in our little woods; good neighbors; sunny days and rain to water the earth.
I count the extraordinary – my prayer partner who still prays with me every week, us enduring more than a decade; playing in the band at church with those young enough to be my children and grandchildren; sharing music with piano students and hearing their joyful sounds; money to pay for unexpected and unplanned home repairs; God’s Spirit communicating with my spirit in ways that challenge me to change for the better and then giving grace to do it.
I ponder experiences that broke me open as I cried buckets of tears, running to the throne of grace for help in my time of need. Change and healing do come, the balm of Gilead, and compassion and empathy make their abode in me with a better understanding of my brothers and sisters.
I am astounded by God’s love, displayed through Jesus, how it moves me to surrender to His way of loving others. That kind of love transforms me.
Over the next few days I will add to my Joy List. As I consider what to record, I will look at the world with eyes of gratefulness and a heart of thanksgiving. I will see grace and beauty, faith and kindness, and I will know each comes from God whose essence is love.
Showers of blessings, like so many falling leaves, are all around.
“ . . . whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God, the Creator of all light, and He shines forever without change or shadow.”
— James 1:17 Living Bible