Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Blessing Box

 “Funnel cakes at the State Fair” 

 “Grandma & Aunt Joyce’s visit”

 Catherine the Great exhibit in Dallas”

“Relatives on the East Coast not hurt by Hurricane Andrew”

“Paw-Paw recovering from surgery”

“New winter pajamas!”

“University of Texas beats OU”

“Having the Willits family in Dallas on furlough”

“Safe return of church youth group from Colorado ski trip (and Angela’s leg healing OK!).”

“Nichole B’s recovery from appendectomy on Russian trip, and good medical care there”

“Answered prayers for Aunt Vel’s care” 

“The cats getting fixed—BEFORE we had more cats!”

 “Shakespeare in the Park—Romeo & Juliet

 “US vs USSR hockey game”

As parents, Gerry and I were committed to doing the right things with our children. Sometimes we were successful, sometimes not. But one of the most inspired things we did was start a Thanksgiving Blessing box.

I can’t remember whose idea it was initially, but we covered a shoe box with wrapping paper, cut a slit in the top, and invited our children to join us throughout the year in dropping pieces of paper inside, describing something for which we were thankful.

To be honest, most of the time we were all so busy living life that we did not stop long enough to write anything on paper. But as November closed in on us, the box bulged just a little more as we remembered that the holiday was looming, and began to be more intentional about dropping our blessings into the box.

The plan was for our family to gather sometime during the Thanksgiving holidays, open the box, and take turns drawing a slip of paper from the box and reading what had been inscribed there. No one signed their names, but of course we all knew one another’s handwriting so it was no secret who had written the messages.

We had one teenager at home and one in college, and the notes you read at the beginning of the blog were actual “blessings” from the box sometime around the early 90s. It brings back such memories to read them now ~ and a few chuckles as well when I recall the circumstances surrounding each of the notes. A complete story could have been written about each one of them!

Some of the notes you read above seemed much too trivial, too shallow to acknowledge, but they described real life in a real family. Most parents remember with humor the times when their children were toddlers, just learning to talk. The prayers of little children are often amusing as they thank God for forks and spoons, for ice cream, for new shoelaces, for rocks and leaves . . . all the little things most of us don’t waste our time naming. (I have been told that I was overheard praying at the age of about four with these words: “God, thank you for my panties; they got a hole in ‘em, but they’re all right.”)

It is never too early or too late to begin your own Blessing Box. What a wonderful hands-on way to teach your children about gratitude! But please, let them list whatever they are grateful for without judgment. A Blessing Box can be just as important for Singles as well as families with children. No matter what our situation, any of us can find joy in recognizing God's daily blessings, and at the end of the year it gives perspective to take the notes out of the box and remember how the Lord came through for us all during the year. 

Sometimes our blessings are large-scale things, like remission from cancer or a new job. Other times, we see the hand of God in the colorful leaves in the Fall ~ and yes, in new winter pajamas and the cats getting “fixed.” God’s blessings fall down all around us in ways both large and small. How precious to recognize each blessing as a gift from our Father . . . and to tell Him so.