2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 12: Today I'm Thankful for Warmth!
But, I'm in a house with central heating, and with a space heater in the room for good measure. So while it's freezing (literally) outside, I'm still warm.
You've probably seen those emails and slide shows that talk about how blessed we are here in America. That if you live in a home you are in the top percentage of the wealthiest people in the world. It lists all of the things that we take for granted and consider bare necessities and our given rights that many other people throughout the world would consider luxuries.
Tonight, as I sit here at my computer connected to millions of people around the world through the amazing technology that I take for granted every day, I'm in a nice warm house, wearing nice warm clothes, drinking a nice hot cup of tea. At the same time, I know that there are those who aren't so fortunate. And, I don't have to go to a third world country to find them.
There are homeless people right here in America. I'm sure that even here in the little town of Russellville, Arkansas, there are probably people who do not have a heated home tonight.
So tonight, while I'm thankful for warmth, I'm wondering what else I could be doing to help others who are in need.
I do some small things. I have contributed an extra $5 a month on my energy bill for the past 6 years. It goes into a fund to help the elderly who cannot afford to pay their electric bill so that they can continue to have electricity during the winter. I contribute to other charities as well.
And tonight I will pray that the ministering angels watch over those who are out in the cold. I pray that they will find shelter and warmth.
I think we don't consider our blessings enough. It is so easy to get caught up into thinking about, and complaining about, what we don't have instead of thanking God and praising him for what we do have.
Truly, we are so blessed. And, there is nothing wrong with that. God WANTS to bless us. He takes no pleasure in denying us comfort. Think about it, would you want your children to suffer? Don't you want your children to enjoy life, and have the desires of their heart? That's what God wants for you.
"Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart."
Why do so many people think that God would be any different than an earthly father?
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
It's the desire to focus on the good things that I so often take for granted that inspired me to declare 2012 a year of thanksgiving and praise. This year, I want to retrain my thinking, my behavior, and my speech. I'm trying to catch myself when I complain, and turn it around into praise and thanksgiving instead.
I think that it's common for each generation to expect to have more than their parents generation did. Just as it's common for the parents to want their children to have more. But, as Dave Ramsey says, what our parents worked their whole lives for and finally earned when they were 40 or 50, we seem to think we deserve when we are 20.
He's trying to make a point about not going into debt, but to instead practice delayed gratification like our parents did and work toward those goals instead of financing them and mortgaging our future in order to have them now.
But, I think the other lesson here is that thinking we deserve them also tends to make us less appreciative of our blessings. We think these things are our right instead of a privilege. We think the world owes us something instead of realizing that it is up to us to earn our way.
This year, I want to always remember that my days are filled with things, and people, and experiences for which I should be thankful. I want to always remember that I am blessed beyond measure, and that there are others who wish they could experience a small fraction of the blessings I have.
So tonight, on this very chilly winter's night, I choose to be thankful for warmth.