In her book Basket of Blessings: 31 Days to a More Grateful Heart, Karen O'Connor shares her experience. "If you want to be content, to experience peace," a friend had told Karen, "write down your blessings—the things you’re grateful for—on slips of paper and put them in a container of some kind. A small basket or box or bag will do. Soon it will be full to overflowing. From time to time look at what you wrote. No one can be discontent for long with so much to be thankful for."
In addition to filling a "blessing basket" on a daily basis, we could write a letter to God once a year, listing all that pours out of our hearts for his extravagant grace to us. Think of what a joy it would be to keep our annual letters of gratitude to read through the years or to pass on to our children. What a celebration we could have as we remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God.
Whether our thank-you moments are momentary, intentional pauses in the midst of a hectic day, thank you notes to God for his many blessings, or lengthy discourses of his grace, cultivating an attitude of gratitude will remind us of the truth that undergirds our lives: "For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" (Psalm 100:5).
Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter can be joyful occasions, but I'm aware that they can be painful too. Perhaps you have lost a loved one and this is this first time you will face a particular birthday or anniversary with an empty place at your table. Perhaps family times make you feel lonely, remind you of what’s not true for you at this moment. I pray that you might know deep in your spirit that you belong to an eternal family; you are loved by God, enough for him to send his precious Son to the Cross for you.
We have so much to celebrate as daughters of the King of Kings. I pray that you might find a quiet place today to stop and lift your heart up in gratitude to our Father.