Tree of Thankfulness

What do the words, ‘Thank
You’, mean?  These two words reveal an
understanding that a sacrificial gift is freely given.  A sacrificial gift is from the heart. How we
acknowledge the gift can bring joy or it can bring pain to the giver.  A quick thanks, brushes off the price and the
thought behind the gift.
We moved from one small town
to another in 1945. The cost of the move took its toll on our family’s
finances.  We moved in the fall and
Christmas was upon us.  There was no
money for ‘store-bought’ gifts.  Dad and
Mom had a financial meeting with us and explained the difficulty.  Dad, Mom and my two brothers gathered around
the small Christmas tree in the living room on Christmas Eve. The lights
twinkled and our hearts were warmed by the season and the circle of
family.  We listened to the story from
Luke 2, of the birth of the baby Jesus in a stable.  We sang Silent
and knelt around the room to pray. 
The silence, the voices, the moment is indelibly printed on my heart.  Would it always be this way?  I remember opening my gift, wondering what it
could be.  Mom kept saying, “It isn’t
much.”  In the wrapping lay a pair of
knitted brown mittens made with love by Mom’s hands.  I still have one mitten after 70 years hidden
in my cedar chest that attests to sacrificial gifts.  A reminder of how important a heart-felt
‘thank you’ is to the giver was in her eyes. 
‘Thank You’, takes on a
shape of a tree of blessings in my mind, with fruit hanging heavy.  The tree bears trust, faithfulness, joy,
peace, love, encouragement, hope, faith and a sense of otherness, not self.  Often we hear the phrase, “It isn’t about you.”  What is it about?  When we say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to
someone, it is the recognition of another person’s very being and heart.
One by one, our four
children sent us cards and letters as they grew to adulthood that contained
‘Thank You’s’ for being the parents we were. 
There is nothing that cures an ‘empty nest syndrome’ as quickly as
hearing from your children as young adults. 
‘Thank You’ reminded us of
memories from long ago and we know their words were from the heart.
I thank God for the glorious
colors of this fall season.  Each
brilliant tree draws an another exclamation of joy.  Winter is coming when the earth becomes a
charcoal drawing. I thank God for the gift of the seasons yet to come that He is
planning.  For without the winter
‘charcoal’ rest, the following spring will not be as beautiful and remind me of
the blessing of life that God has given.
While reading the autobiography
of Hudson Taylor, missionary to China for 51 years in the 1800’s, I was drawn
to his faith and trust and thankfulness. 
One of the thoughts he included is that having to trust God for the next
meal creates a need to trust and belief in our Heavenly Father.  The peace that comes from truly trusting our
Lord, gives us the strength to endure and grow in faith in this life to prepare
for the next. 
Why is thanking God so
important? He is the genesis of ‘Thank You’ and giving of precious gifts.  We have three sons and a daughter, we cannot
imagine giving even one child for any reason. 
No matter how old our children become, they are precious to us.  God, our Father, gave His only begotten son
to save us from our sins. Then I think of how God ‘knit his Son’ in the womb of
Mary. (Psalm 139:13)  I can see God
hovering about the stable protecting His One and only Son, who left all the
riches in Heaven to become poor and despised and rejected.  Then Jesus was nailed to the cross and
suffered death.  He arose on the third
day, triumphant.  He defeated death to
give us hope of eternal life.  He rose so
that we might be rich with the hope of Heaven. 
We are not made for a
temporary life, but an everlasting life with our Father in Heaven.  We cannot control our final Destiny except by
choosing to follow Jesus. The longer I live, the more deeply I know that Jesus
is my Lord and Master.  No matter what
befalls me, when I am His, I know his guidance and strength will protect
If we live,
it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die,
it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 
Romans 14:8
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his
glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving
thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the
inheritance of the saints in light.  He has
delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the
kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have
redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 
Colossians 1:11-14
can I ever thank you,
            With all my heart always?
            From depths of darkness
            You are my light and way.
            How can I fathom your love?
            That reaches before the beginning
            To beyond the curtain of forever
            You grace writes the song I sing.
            When I open my eyes and see
            Your love all about me
            Happy tears well in my eyes
            For I know, I know, I am free.


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