We have a grandson who is nine years old today. His mom and dad are throwing a party, and we are looking forward to the celebration and the gift giving. Mind you, coming up with the something that would expressly please a nine-year-old boy seemed a bit daunting, until my husband (a.k.a.Papa) hit upon what we hope to be simply the best gift ever: a three-man tent for camping.
Now this tent did not come from the local mart. It did not come shipped from a warehouse. This tent came from Papa’s storage room. It is the same tent he has camped in for the last 20 years. Of course, we also purchased a few new camping accessories to go with it, such as a rechargeable light and cooking utensils. The total package is sure to impress, especially as we have it on good authority that dad is planning on pitching said tent in the back yard this very week. Father and son under the stars together drinking water from tin cups. What could possibly be more satisfying than that.
As we have thought about and planned for this particular event, I have been reminded that the best gifts are often good memories made with those we love. A time and place shared in such a way that the joy of it returns with every rehearsing of the memory.
Remembering is an important part of the pilgrim way. The Lord exhorted the children of Israel time and time again to remember what He had done and how He had delivered them, cared for them, and led them into the promised land. So they rehearsed the goodness of God with their children, and the stories of His faithfulness traveled down through the generations. In this way, they were taught to cultivate gratitude.
Gratitude has a way of enlarging the capacity of the heart for love and patience. It is a heaven-sent grace that smooths out the rough edges in our relationships and human interactions. When I practice gratitude for the people in my life, it is easier to love the people in my life, to love them with the true and extravagant love of God.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV) Love does not fail.
As you go into this week, dear reader, take some time to practice gratitude. Remember God’s goodness to you and look for His treasure in others. Make a memory with a loved one. You never know what good thing it will grow when remembered in later times.
Until next week, fellow so-journer, rehearse the faithfulness of God and practice gratitude.