Sing along with me... "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... everywhere we go." It's true, right? I experienced a day filled with Christmas, even though it's not Thanksgiving yet. Let me explain. My mom and I went on a shopping extravaganza today with my three year old son and my three year old niece. When we walked in the mall, it was completely decorated for Christmas. There were huge wreath chandeliers hanging from the ceiling covered with red and gold ornaments. Stores were filled with Christmas treats ready to be shared. Christmas has arrived.
But little did I know that on top of store decorations, Santa has arrived too! It's true and I have a picture to prove it. I got a text this morning that said "We put in a good word for you," followed by this picture:
You got it! My two friends, sporting The Thankfulness Experiment t-shirts, chased down Santa to get his picture. Who knows? Maybe he will join the experiment!
After a meltdown in one of the most non-kid friendly stores at the mall, we ran across Santa. And since there was no line (when does this ever happen?!?), my mom and I decided to let the kids stop by. When Santa asked my son if he was good, he looked Santa straight in the eye and said no. Can you believe it? My son was being honest because he knew he was not so good at the store we just left. Santa walked my son through some questions to show him that he really wasn't bad (how's that for some grace in action? Without even mentioning the naughty list!). Santa then asked my son what he wanted for Christmas. The list was shared, surprisingly limited to three things, and off we went.
Remember how I told you that my day was filled with Christmas... well, to wrap up the Christmas theme, my family watched The Muppet Christmas Carol tonight. Since thankfulness is on my brain these days, one line from the movie really struck me. Scrooge just visited with the Spirits of Christmas Past and Present, and he now faced the Future Spirit. As Scrooge embarked on this last phase of his journey, he said "I am prepared to follow and learn with a grateful heart." Interesting turn of events with Scrooge... the grumpy, pessimistic man from a few hours before was transforming... mostly because of the Cratchit family and their grateful hearts. Scrooge just witnessed Bob Cratchit toasting him, of all people, before eating their meager turkey dinner. Bob Cratchit chose to be thankful for the blessings received instead of focusing on what his family didn't have. What a lesson we can learn from this! Just think of how we might influence others as we overflow with thanksgiving...
Am I willing to say "I am prepared to follow and learn with a grateful heart" like Scrooge? Are you? This means that we have a new outlook... one that focuses on thanksgiving in spite of our circumstances. One that recognizes blessings in the midst of trials. Definitely something to strive for... and when we put this thankful outlook into action, it's like living out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. This outlook defies reason at times, but the impact it can have is mind-boggling. Look at Scrooge's transformation. How exciting to be the thankful sunshine that radiates on a world that can be so dark! We can do it... one day and one thankful thought at a time.
Today, I'm thankful for...
1. Shopping extravaganza with my mom... and getting everything on our lists!
2. Chili's chips and salsa - quite possibly the best around
3. Snuggling with my 7 year old while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol
4. Thankful lesson coming Scrooge - who knew?
5. Surprise Santa photo from my friends
6. Santa showing grace to my three year old
Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 8,081 to go...