When we pray with Z we are mostly thanking God for things, so he already knows the concept of giving thanks. But to name gifts and remember to do it throughout the day -- knowing thankfulness is really the source of all joy -- that is a discipline, a habit.
After reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I realized the importance of the habit of pausing to name the gifts we receive from God, and to thank him. When we
forget to pause, to look around and hunt for the gifts... we lose our
contentment, and then we lose our joy.
The habit of thanksgiving is so simple, yet so vital.
Just like this box.
I just slapped a piece of paper on this boring cardboard box, because it's not the box that's important. What's inside the box is important. Through the day we just place in the box random things for which we are thankful. Then we thank God for each item (or what it represents) as we empty it each night.
You may think this idea is overly simple. But when it comes to
teaching thankfulness to a preschooler, simple is best. And let's face it... the habit is not easily mastered by adults. Despite all our many blessings, I'm sorry to say this box hasn't even come close to being full by the end of the day. Z forgets about it... I forget about it... and we just go on with our day. But the box sits there still and silently begs to be filled.
God waits too..
As Thanksgiving approaches, my hope is that this box would become more and more full each day. Not because we have more stuff... but because we are pausing to thank God for it.