“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I have recently finished the manuscript for my first children’s book, which I had hoped to have published by Thanksgiving of this year. But, like many other things in this strange and unpredictable year, From Grumpy to Grateful has been on the back burner. Still, I thought my followers might like a sneak preview, especially those with children or grandchildren who like to read or be read to. God willing, the book will be out, complete with illustrations, by next fall.
From Grumpy to Grateful will be posted in five brief posts for the next five days. Meanwhile, a note to the adults:
We can take many things for granted, from food and clothes to our freedom, to the people in our lives. It’s easy to look at what God is doing for other people and feel a twinge of envy, not realizing that these people probably aren’t blessed with many of the things we enjoy every day. These people might, in fact, be envying us at the same time! This cycle of ingratitude happens to adults as well as children. Sometimes it takes a crisis, a loss, or a journey into someone else’s world to give us an appreciation for what we have.
Jackson, the little boy in this story, has been hearing about Jesus and the miracles He did – walking on water, feeding five thousand, healing the sick, and raising the dead. Jackson wonders why Jesus isn’t doing impressive things like that for him, and he complains about it to his sister Charlotte.
You may know someone who has gone on a missionary trip to an impoverished region and come back a different person – a very grateful person. Jackson has the privilege of taking that journey in one night, as he dreams about what it would be like to be without most of the things he takes for granted. When he wakes up, Jackson realizes that he is one very blessed boy!
Before reading this story with your child, ask what he or she is grateful for. You might want to write down the response. Then after reading about Jackson’s adventure, ask your child if he or she has anything else to thank God for. I suspect the second list will be longer than the first.
You might want to hang your gratitude list on the wall, refrigerator, or bulletin board and add to it each night. Ask your child (and yourself) “Do you know someone who doesn’t have these things?” then pray together for that person, and watch for changes that come from a life of gratitude and caring.
Prayer: Father in heaven, You take such good care of us, and so often we don’t take notice of what You’ve given us, nor do we thank You as much as we should. Help us to be more aware of our blessings and to thank You continually for Your goodness to us. May we set an example of thankfulness to the children in our lives each and every day, in Jesus’ name, Amen.