As the Fourth of July rolls around, the word I keep hearing in my spirit is “gratitude.” In these current days here in the United States of America, more and more we find ourselves living in an atmosphere of confusion, division, blame, accusation, and even disillusion and disappointment. I can get so focused on the bad that I totally miss the good. And though I am inclined to be a cup half-empty person, and I’ve been known to complain (say it isn’t so), that’s not who I was made to be. I’m still growing into the person I want to be. I know there are good people doing good and beautiful things that are spreading hope and love in this world. I want to be one of them.
I read a book several years ago by one of my favorite Christian authors, Ann Voskamp, called “One Thousand Gifts.” It’s about intentionally cultivating a life of thankfulness. She says that thanksgiving changes the atmosphere. It changes your perspective, which changes your attitude and ultimately, your heart.
As I write today, I am sitting on a balcony in the Colorado mountains listening to the rushing waters of a mountain stream. Blessed. Thankful. At rest. At peace. Aspen trees rustle in the breeze, and I am overwhelmed with appreciation for my even getting to be here in this beautiful place. I have so much to be thankful for. This place is a gift. My children are a gift. My husband and partner in life – a gift. Music is a gift. The air I breathe is a gift. Today – This day – is a gift. As we prepare to celebrate the America’s birthday, I am aware that this country I live in is also a gift. I am grateful for all who have fought for it and struggled to helped make and keep us a free nation.
I hope you will also breathe a prayer of thanksgiving as you are celebrating the 4th, whether it be with friends and family or complete strangers. Look for the good. Celebrate with hope. Thank God for His creation. Remember that God is in every face you see. Take a minute and thank Him for the good things in your life, even if it’s just for the air you breathe. Oh, and maybe also for freedom celebrations and fireworks too.