Right after Halloween (and sometimes even before) our retailers would have us begin focusing on Christmas. They want us to start loosening up our wallets now. “No time to lose. Shop early and shop often.” I suppose that’s understandable, especially in light of the poor economic times, when the next month might make or break them, or so we are told.
I love Christmas. But I often think it’s a shame that in our rush to get to it we tend to overlook Thanksgiving, which deserves to be valued for its own sake, not just as a warm-up act for Santa Clause. Of course, not everyone is glossing over Thanksgiving. In fact, I’ve been encouraged to see one friend making daily entries on Facebook about things she’s thankful for – a valuable exercise. Then tonight I heard a report on the news that thankfulness leads to contentment and happiness.
An interval of meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of everything dangerous in such high-wrought felicity; and she went to her room, and grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her enjoyment. (Persuasion, chapter 23)
I’m as guilty as anyone of the bad habit of dwelling on what’s not going right in my world, when the truth is that every day I wake up breathing is a day I should be grateful for. God loves me. My family does too. I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboard. I’m in reasonably good health and I have worthwhile things to occupy my time. What more could I ask for?
Okay, I could ask that my books become wildly successful or that I win the lottery. But should I put off being happy until fame and fortune arrive? That could be a while, and I don’t want to wait. I think I’ll start right now instead. A reader board at a church I pass frequently puts it this way: “GET RICH QUICK! COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.”