The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Gift of Gratitude"
I don't know if you can see him in the photograph below, taken this past Thursday while returning from a neighbor's house. But I can.
I refer to my son Noah, who I see in my mind's eye - even more, my heart's eye - as he races to catch the football I throw to him. Actually, such events took place nearly 2 decades ago, before Noah left for the Marine Corps, a career in law enforcement, the raising of a family, and his soon to be attained Master's degree in public administration. We frequently transformed our street into a playing field when Noah was a boy (being especially careful, of course, and grateful for light traffic in the neighborhood!). It seemed like yesterday, however, as I snapped the picture. I sent the photo to Noah, who agreed, "It doesn't seem that long ago." No son, it surely doesn't.
You can imagine my thoughts and emotions when recalling those blessed days. Remembering happy times we cannot revisit, but which bless us in the recollection, perfectly defines the word "bittersweet." Most importantly, as we have frequently suggested in these messages through the years, our recollections provide opportunity to make our memories much more than simply memories.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).
As I stood gazing down the street, the realization occurred to me that simply remembering happy times would greatly minimize the experience. So, while seeing in my mind's eye Noah yet again catch a perfect spiral on his fingertips to win another imaginary national championship for the University of Alabama, I stilled myself to give thanks for the blessing of a bygone time, and the bittersweet recollection of the moment. By God's leading, I made the memory more than a memory. I visited the altar of thanksgiving in my heart to give thanks for Noah, and for the times he and I have spent together for 38 years (Thursday was his birthday, by the way). I did the same for my daughters, Marie and Emmie, with whom I have also shared countless happy moments. The event became all the more blessed, not only in my heart, but in the heart of the One who so loves to grace His children with expressions of His infinite goodness and generosity.
"The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8).
God does not need our expressions of gratitude. We greatly please Him, however, when we acknowledge His gifts with thanksgiving. Making memories more than memories offers opportunity to motivate a particular happiness in our Heavenly Father's heart that would not exist if we withheld our expression of gratitude. So, on Noah's birthday, our Father gave me a special gift that brought fond memories. He also provided opportunity to make the moment more than a memory. I did so, and discovered yet again that our capacity for gratitude is itself a most blessed bestowal from the Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift."
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."
Weekly Memory Verse
And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.