Monday, November 19, 2007

Lord, make us truly thankful

Every year at Thanksgiving, I ask my children what they have to be thankful for. They are still small, and the most devastating thing in their lives so far has been to wait to eat until supper is ready, so most of their answers come at my prompting. "Mama and Daddy, Brother and Sister, Grandma and Grandpa, Grammy and Grandpa C.", they repeat, echoing their nightly prayers. When I try to emphasize all they truly have to be grateful for, the food on their table or the roof over their heads, their eyes just glaze over, uncomprehending.

The other day our World Vision gift catalog came in the mail. Inside are pages filled with real needs of real people throughout the world, and a price is listed next to each need, so you can "buy" it, and if you choose, send a card to someone describing the gift that was given in their honor. You can buy 5 ducks for $30 to provide eggs for a family in need or a well for $18,000 to provide water for a village, and pretty much anything in between.

I've been getting this catalog for a couple of years now, and every time I read through it, I am moved. Every year I vow to really focus on giving this Christmas and not getting caught up in another onslaught of toys. But eventually my thoughts turn to the Wal-Mart sale paper or the Toys R Us book, and I end up spending more on my children than they really need. And I do end up giving my charity donations, but as I do so, to be truthful, my mind is calculating my tax deduction more than the genuine needs of others.

So this year I decided to let the kids pick something out to send. Grace and Tommy sat down to peruse the catalog, and were astounded to learn that people needed things like vaccinations, school supplies, and seeds to plant crops. For one thing, it was hard to convince them that the crying baby in the picture needs those vaccinations to survive, and that by paying for them we would be helping her and not hurting her. But mainly, I think they just assumed that everyone has been given the same things they have. Things like school and homework and doctor visits to them seemed like things they have to endure, rather than gifts from God.

We put the catalog away and eventually, yes, they started looking some more at the Toys R Us flier. Then Grace and I went grocery shopping together for our Thanksgiving meal. We loaded down our cart with pounds of butter and pecans and sweet potatoes and green beans and cornbread mix and marshmallows, and then lugged it out to the car. I couldn't help but think of the excess of food that will be doled out at my home on Thursday, and while my heart was glad (especially for the sweet potatoes), I was again reminded to be thankful.

I asked Grace as we drove home what she is thankful for this year. Here is a partial list of things she named:

Our family.
Our house.
Good health.
Clean water to drink.
Enough food to eat.
A heater that works.
A country where we have freedom.
A school to go to.
Clothes to wear.
Shoes on our feet.

I could add so much more.
Thank You, Lord.


  1. I think one of the things I often think about when I am overwhelmed with all He has blessed me with is, "Why me?". Not that I am complaining. It brings unmeasurable joy to me that my children will not suffer what so many children do in this world. But I wonder, "Why me?" in the sense of... He blessed me for a reason, He put me in America and not Darfur or Cuba. Why? I am no better then those in other countries. So why was I placed here with so many blessings? And my prayer becomes not just, "Thank you Lord." but, "Show me what you want me to do with it all. Let me be a good steward of all you have given me and my family."

    OK..that got really long. Sorry...I think I will go blog on my own blog now..LOL

  2. Hey, I linked to your post... Just in case you start wondering where everyone came from...LOL

  3. I have tears in my eyes. It is wonderful that you are instilling a grateful heart in your children at such a young age.


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