“Praise befits the upright,” says the psalmist (Psalm 33:1). I’ve been thinking about this simple little sentence all week, how our beauty is found in our praise and gratitude to God. Spurgeon put it this way: “What wings are to a bird, what fruit is to the tree, what the rose is to the thorn, that is praise to a child of God.”
I can think of days where I was quickly sliding into self-pity and whining only to be jolted by some sobering news. The self-pity and whining vanished immediately as the realities of life in a fallen world cleared away my blindness. I’m thankful for this work of the Holy Spirit in my life, one that is far from finished.
I know one thing for sure about myself—I can’t be in worship-mode and whine-mode at the same time. And worship-mode is always accompanied by gratitude and thanksgiving, whereas whine-mode refuses to entertain such godly company.
Sadly, this inseparable pair of sins have a bedfellow who is an equal enemy of praise, gratitude, and thanksgiving—forgetfulness. Maybe forgetfulness accounts for my camera attraction. I’m able to capture moments that I know will be forgotten forever if I don’t record them for future viewing. Have you ever discovered an old collection of prints, long forgotten in some drawer or box, only to be transported back in time to a place of happy or possibly sad memories? As you looked at the faces, the clothing, the landscape, at some point you probably said, “Wow, I forgot all about that!”
Remembering is the soil where gratitude grows. Recalling all the ways God has shown His love for us—His care for our bodies and souls, His protection from harm both spiritual and physical, the gift of His Son— is like planting seeds in rich fertile soil that germinate into praise and thanksgiving. Gratitude recalibrates our hearts towards God and away from ourselves.
So I decided to spend the week before we officially celebrate Thanksgiving Day by writing down God’s blessings one by one, sort of a Thanksgiving “Advent” if you like. I created cards, which you will find below, with space to “recount” God’s goodness in a concrete way.
Writing is a great aid to memory, not to mention a vehicle for recording gratitude moments that will one day become a precious treasure. I may even keep this new tradition going after Thanksgiving Day and store my remembrances in a special box. Then, when self-pity raises its ugly head, I can reach for the antidote.
An Inheritance to Remember
Some of us inherited recipe boxes from our mothers or grandmothers, filled with instructions for favorite family meals and secret family recipes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our children to inherit evidence of God’s transforming work in our hearts in the form of gratitude and thanksgiving expressed in our own words of praise?
I printed my cards on Avery Postcards/Index Cards stock (four cards per sheet) perforated for easy separation, but any 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock will work just fine. I hope you’ll join me in the birth of a new tradition.
Card Front [Right-click on graphic to download]