This is back up in our house again, with much more leaves both on it and around it. I love what this little (ghetto :) thankful tree does for our family this time of year. How about you, do you have a a tradition of thanks this time of year?
Originally posted November 2011
My jaw hurts and I realize I've been clenching it tight, all day long. The day was long, and everywhere I turn I see the piles of all I've left to do, my life so full of straw and hay it feels empty. This is the month of Thanksgiving, of thanks giving, of giving thanks and so I am trying to learn, this being content in all things.
I open my copy of One Thousand Gifts and my view begins to change, my hearts understanding the importance of coming into his courts with thanksgiving. I long to always in all circumstances see and believe that my God is good. I take up my pen and I write them down, the gifts, "blue sky the color of my love's eyes", "shaking a tablecloth in the front yard, knowing I'm leaving food behind for the birds."
But it's hard to stop and pay attention and there are times where I can't possibly think what it is I am to be thankful for. He screams in the aisle and I am overwhelmed and I feel like I'm failing at this shaping of the hearts who've have been entrusted to me. "I was not alone" is the only thing I find to be thankful for in that moment, He was with me, always with me. And all afternoon it seems small, scribbled in my notebook, "I was not alone", but really isn't that the biggest thing, the thing to be thankful for, that He is with us, always with us. That He didn't leave us here alone.
And so, the day goes on and there seems to be few and far things in between I can grasp onto and return to Him in thanks. So I take the one who has furrowed my brow all day long, we go outside and he happily gathers sticks for the "thank you tree." We walk along together and as he gathers, my shoulders begin to relax. I look at him and am reminded of the miracle that is my son, and suddenly the tension is gone and I feel the Spirit utters words I've never heard to praise the giver of this great gift.
I find a jar and wipe the cobwebs off the surface, and I feel Him doing the same to my heart. Beginning to make me clean, using this thanks giving to change my heart, could it be? We place the sticks in the jar, and they sit barren, empty. I get the paper, the punch, the pen. Find the notebook and turn to the page filled with words of thanksgiving. I punch, and I write and I tie. As my hands work, punch, write, tie, I feel the cleaning, the filling. I am making a thank you tree, and with each leaf placed I am practicing over and again, thanksgiving.
Punch, write, tie. You are a good God. Punch, write, tie. A God who gives life. Punch, write, tie. An abundant life. Punch, write, tie. Who takes us, so barren, and fills us up gift after good gift. And in the giving thanks we are restored.