There’s a song by Christian contemporary recording artist Amy Grant called “Count Your Blessings.” It’s about times when you are weary and cannot sleep. The solution, Amy sings, is to count your blessings instead of sheep and one Christmas, my parents, brother and I did just that! Only we were not asleep. We were gathered in the living room by the Christmas tree where we always start every Christmas morning. But instead of opening boxes filled with gifts from our individual wish lists, we opened up a bag and counted our blessings.
Let me explain: All of us were on a very tight budget that year so we could not afford to buy gifts or cards. So instead of boxes covered with holiday gift wrapping paper and Hallmark greeting cards, one simple but beautiful brown paper gift bag with the word “Blessings” inscribed on the front, sat underneath our Christmas tree.
Since December 1 that year, each of us would record our blessings on pieces of paper and quietly slip it into the gift bag. It was an action done whenever we had time from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24. When Dec. 25 arrived, our bag was brimming with paper with words expressing our gratitude. So that Christmas morning, we gathered in the living room and took turns retrieving the pieces of paper from inside the bag. We then read the words on the paper aloud, reciting our blessings.
It was one of my favorite Christmas memories because it reminded me that true gratitude is when you’re thankful to God for your blessings even when you cannot afford to buy material things. God’s blessings include more than things that money can buy—they include time, love, joy, happiness, peace, true friends and quality time with your family. All of which cannot be bought. So that Christmas morning, I looked around at all of my non-material blessings: My Mom, Dad and brother. Gratitude filled my heart because having family present in my life, a built-in support system of people who care and are there for me, was the sweetest blessing and a priceless gift.
The Holy Bible reads in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV), “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We didn’t have material gifts to give that Christmas morning, but we had each other as family and we continue to be thankful for that great blessing.
So this Christmas, if you find yourself short on money for material gifts, I suggest that you try this blessings bag idea and see how you like it. You may discover that the heart of the holiday season is not in what you can get on your wish list but in the company of people who care and are there for you not just on Christmas but all through the year.
And if you don’t have family or friends, I’d like for you to remember that you’re not alone because the best gift is Jesus Christ who has promised to be with you always, even until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). He created you and loves you with His life (John 3:16)! Jesus Christ is there for you when no one else is and only He can give you the greatest joy that comes with knowing and loving Him as your Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Friend.
I’m praying that your Christmas is bright, beautiful and blessed. I’m hoping that even if you have tons of presents to give and to share, you will count your blessings too and remember that God loves you!
Alexis is graciously offering to give away a copy of Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories.
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Alexis loves to write. She knew since the age of 9 when she wrote her first “book” that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Alexis is grateful that God allowed that dream of her heart dream to come true when she released her first real book, Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013 through Crossbooks which is an imprint of B&H Publishing Group.
Alexis works as a Social Media and Web Editor, freelance writer/photographer and proofreader. Every day Alexis learns that the joy in life is in the journey. The older she gets, the more she knows the importance of counting your blessings because it makes your journey through life not only worthwhile but breathtakingly beautiful.
Connect with Alexis:
Visit her official website, www.alexisagoring.com
“Like” her Author page, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring
Follow her book’s Twitter handle, @pennedbyalex
Subscribe to her blog “God is Love” http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com/