When it comes to thankfulness, it's the big and the small. As we examine our lives, we can easily see the big things we are thankful for: life, health and love. These aspects of our lives are easily set on the shelf as symbols of thankfulness, like words literally carved out of wood and placed on the mantle to decorate our homes. With the smell of turkey heavy in the air, we hold hands around a table, and give thanks for those big things. Thanksgiving is the big day we set aside for family, friends and football.
But can we collectively take some time to look at the small things? Do this for a minute: breathe deeply in and out. That's simple, small, everyday and insignificant until we can't do it on our own. Do some small things, the everyday things, become mundane and therefore overlooked in our lives? Do we take for granted breathing, walking or just looking into the eyes of our loved ones?
My wife and I have two children we tuck into bed most every night. At times we bemoan the task and say to each other, "Can you handle it tonight?" "Can you get the water, get the extra blanket or pray with them?" Are we thankful in this? Not really. It feels more like a duty to complete. Tucking in our children is a small thing that becomes huge the one night we can't.
We get stuck in the "same ol" mode in life. We wake up in the same ol' bed, eat the same ol' breakfast, brush the same ol' teeth, go to the same ol' job, come home to the same ol' dinner and we look at the same ol' faces, and never realize how incredibly blessed we are!
Sure, we are thankful for life, family, health, and love, but let's not overlook the small things. Might I suggest to you some "small" things that we can be thankful for, that we should say out loud, "I am thankful for..."
* Leaves that change; God's love that doesn't.
* Children's hugs; dirty rugs from little feet.
* A friend who listens, and kids who sometimes don't.
* Beach sand in the summer; a white dusting of snow in the winter.
So when you sit around that table this Thanksgiving, ask yourself this question: Can I name the small things I am thankful for? And when you begin your list, which of these "small" things would you be willing to give up? All of a sudden, the small things are growing larger, aren't they?
When you begin to identify the small things and imagine them gone, they immediately begin to grow in importance. We become like that Christmas movie icon George Bailey from It's A Wonderful Life. Remember the scene: George is back to his "same ol' life" after a glimpse of life without those big and small things.
He is wet and cold, his mouth is bleeding, and he exclaims: "ZuZu's petals, ZuZu's petals! There they are... what do you know about that? Merry Christmas."
Thanksgiving: It's about the big, the small and ZuZu's petals.
(Mike Klaus is the senior minister at Columbia County Christian Church.)
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