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Really, count your blessings!


Really, count your blessings!
Posted on December 3, 2021  - By Lisa Mattackal

Most of us are familiar with the chorus that goes: Count your blessings, name them one by one. My apologies if that’s now stuck in your head.

Guess what! We have just entered a season that began with a day for thanksgiving and will end with the new year. And these holidays are packed with encouragement to reflect on the blessings in our lives. 

Holidays help us count

But after the gruelling two years that have passed us by, some of us may not feel particularly blessed this year. Many of us have lost loved ones; many have lost jobs. Family rifts and chronic illnesses have plagued others. Closed doors and changed plans have troubled all of our souls.

To be sure, very few of us would deny that God has blessed and provided for us even through the gloom. Still, there are seasons where feeling real, genuine gratitude seems impossible. There are times when our hearts may be so filled with grief that there hardly seems room for anything else.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for [us].” This posture of gratitude is like a muscle that we have to “exercise” to strengthen (or mature) into a consistent character trait. However, it’s not always an easy muscle to work out.

That’s why holidays—a word derived from the Old English for “holy day”—are so important. It is easy to lose sight of all we have to be grateful for amid the frenetic pace of life. Thanksgiving and other similar holidays can be a welcome—and much-needed—prompt that forces us to slow down and consider all that God has done for us.

It is easy to lose sight of all we have to be grateful for amid the frenetic pace of life

We are naturally forgetful creatures. It’s no wonder God instituted numerous festivals for the Israelites in the Old Testament to remind them of their deliverance from Egypt. It’s certainly no accident that Jesus Christ’s ordinance of Communion is an act of remembrance, calling believers to remember and give thanks for His death and resurrection. We may not “forget” God’s gifts in the sense that we do not remember they exist, but we “forget” His gifts by losing sight of their significance and abundance.

I suppose you could say I’m thankful for Thanksgiving itself—and all such occasions that prompt me to truly count my blessings. 

The blessed monotones

Beyond individual occasions, how can we “practice” gratitude in the difficult or humdrum rhythms of everyday life? That’s where the song can be helpful; literally, count your blessings. Write them down. List out even the most basic ones like food, clothing, and shelter. Meditate on the gift of salvation itself. Thank God the moment you wake up for the gift of a new day—and His promised grace to see you through it. 

If we’re struggling to see God’s goodness, try to take note of the monotone blessings scattered throughout the day: a cup of hot coffee, a piece of music, a sunrise, an unexpected call from a friend—and so on. As simple as that may seem, these small steps can help us cultivate an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving, regardless of the circumstance we’re in.

Lisa Mattackal

About Lisa Mattackal

Lisa is a 20-something millennial discovering how to glorify God in all aspects of life. Despite being a "recovering introvert," she's always up for coffee and good conversation. She works as a journalist in Bangalore, India.



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