You’ve heard of #100HappyDays? Well, I stole the idea and adapted to fit my blogging schedule.
Every day is filled with reasons to be thankful. And yet the majority of my day isn’t spent being thankful. That’s got to change. God sent his son to save me - HUGE reason to always be thankful. And I’ve been freed to live a new life through Christ, released from fear, doubt, shame and self-reliance, equipped with love to serve others and blessed with all kinds of daily tasks and jobs to express my love. And that’s just the big stuff.
This is #100ThankfulWeeks to praise Him. I’m sharing one simple thing I’m thankful for each week. Because there can never be to much thankfulness.
Week 29: The Bad Stuff
My favorite Christmas stories were in a green book that only came out once a year in December. I think it had some kind of paper jacket, but by the time I was old enough to read it, the jacket was torn in a few places - and not long after, the jacket disappeared entirely. So it became known as the “green Christmas book”, filled with stories and recipes and poems, all to celebrate Christmas.
By the time I was 8, I had heard every story in the book. Probably more than once. My favorite was about Eloise and her trinkles. And my second favorite story was about a boy who gets up early to help his father with farm chores. My least favorite story was about a little girl who wished for Christmas every day. The story wasn’t a very happy one and the little girl’s eagerness for a life of daily Christmas bliss struck awfully close to home. Because what little kid doesn’t wish Christmas could be every day?
Only the little girl in the story gets her wish. Christmas comes, she opens all her gifts, plays with all her toys, eats loads of candy and feasts on Christmas pudding. And when she wakes up the next morning, it’s Christmas again. More gifts, more toys, more candy, more pudding. And on it goes, day after day - nothing but wondrous Christmas bliss. Which the little girl loves at first. Because you know, Christmas every day and all.
But before long, the novelty of Christmas wears off. There’s nothing to look forward to because every day is the same. The girl gets sick of candy and pudding, she’s tired of unwrapping gifts and doesn’t care about the mountain of new toys. Uninterrupted Christmas bliss every day of her life and suddenly it’s nothing special. Christmas means nothing - and yet there’s nothing greater than Christmas to hope for. And so the little girl begins to wish the Christmas bliss would stop.
I’ve spent most of my life chasing bliss. The perfect career, where everyday I wake up and can’t wait to tackle the day. The perfect home, safe and secure and trouble-free. The perfect vacation, where I can truly escape everything except relaxation and happiness. The perfect car, the perfect swim-stroke, the perfect kitchen, the perfect movie, the perfect meal, the perfect relationship - just to find that illusive combination leading to lasting bliss.
Except the chase doesn’t lead to bliss. Just angry frustration over everything that’s getting in the way of bliss. Instead of appreciating a wonderful home, I’m plagued by everything I hate about it. Instead of enjoying work, I’m obsessed with getting out of it. The vacation falls short, the car rusts, the kitchen gets a scratch, there’s a hair in my meal and my relationship is just two fixes away from perfect.
To top it all off, life around me is full of horrible stuff. There’s people getting shot, raped, killed, beaten, badgered, oppressed, robbed, duped, starved, hated and made homeless. There’s people shooting, raping, killing, beating, badgering, oppressing, robbing, duping, starving, hating and making others homeless. Every day. And I’m part of this life of horrible stuff - I’m one of them. And unlike the little girl, I won’t get my wish for bliss every day.
Shockingly, that’s a blessing. Because if I could obtain true bliss and stop all the horrible stuff on my own, why would I value God? With my truly perfect life and self-made bliss, it’s Christmas every day and what can God add? The frustration and anger over all that horrible stuff - stuff we do to each other - sends me searching for something more powerful than me. Something that can fix this life and give me something to hope for. Because if it’s just you and me, we’re going to kill each other. Cause, you know, ambition and hatred and greed and vengeance and all that.
So I turn to God. Because I’m angry and frustrated by the lack of justice. Because I’m sick of how horrible life is and nothing I try helps. Because I’m tired. Because I need help.
The amazing thing is, he gives it. Right away. Only it’s not fire and brimstone raining down justice. And it’s not a plague on all the murderers, rapists, thieves, haters and oppressors. The help he gives is love. It’s what’s missing and it has the power to overcome all the horrible stuff. Love can end fear and hatred, prevent killings and vengeance, do away with oppression and injustice - and ultimately bring peace. Love saves us.
I don’t want the horrible stuff in life to happen and I don’t want anyone to suffer. I don’t want anyone shooting anyone else, or robbing or beating or rioting or starving or duping or oppressing. Or hating. I don’t want any of it and I hope I have the courage to end it wherever I am. Yet I am grateful for my very lack of bliss because it drew me to God. I am grateful I cannot achieve bliss on my own so that I can instead rely on him for help. And I’m grateful that through him, I have the opportunity to follow love beyond fear, hate, greed and all the other horrible stuff - and overcome.
This will be my last #100ThankfulWeeks post before Christmas, so I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Even if the holiday only lasts a day.