He strained his neck and stood on his tippy toes, peering over the smaller children gleefully holding out their pumpkin buckets in front of them. "Thank youuuuuu!" He refused to leave until the individuals handing out treats looked at him directly in the eyes. They almost always reacted with a surprised smile.
My four year old son offered his gratitude at every single trick or treating stop on Halloween night. Needless to say, our evening walk took longer than anticipated, but his actions were so beautiful to behold. My sweet boy accepted his Halloween treats, not just with thankfulness, but with the sincere intention of letting the giver know that she or he was seen and appreciated and loved. My son's gratitude wasn't some rehearsed bit or a rote reply. It was thoughtful, honest, and genuine.
I'll be the first to admit it. I am so guilty of heading into Starbucks or Target or our local grocery store and failing to make eye contact with the employees making my experience an easy and enjoyable one. Am I too distracted thumbing through my wallet looking for my credit card to really say hello and ask them how their day is going? Have I missed the chance to offer a sincere thank you because I'm so caught up in my own thoughts about my next errand? Do I just blurt out "thank you" without any real thought for how the presence of the person standing before me was actually a significant part of my day? To be honest, I don't just do this at retail stores; I do it at Church, in my neighborhood, and with my family.
Watching my son the other week gave my heart pause. How often do I stop and take the time to open my heart up fully to God, offer my gratitude for His goodness, and allow myself to be transformed by that "thank you Lord?" Certainly, the depths of that authentic thankfulness, as opposed to my quick mindless "thank you Jesus," has the power to change my actions and my attitude. I want to look Jesus directly in the eyes and offer the same "thank youuuuu" that my son offered. I want to feel His loving gaze looking back into my own eyes. His reply is never "you're welcome," but rather "I love you.”
How many times have you heard the word “gratitude” this month? It’s plastered all over our social media feeds and printed on the front of magazines in the check out aisles of Target. The word “gratitude” even fills the subject lines of our email inboxes, as different brands offer us the best deals on Christmas presents.
And yet, this time of year, with all of its expectations and preparations, often leaves us feeling a bit more flustered than full of thankfulness. In the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget that true gratitude calls us out of ourselves to something more, something transformative ... something of God.
Next week we'll be sharing a beautiful FREE resource to help you celebrate Thanksgiving in a deeply wonderful way! We promise you'll love it!