Celebrate God’s blessings in the new year

By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist

I resolve to celebrate God’s many blessings in the New Year. It is easy to rationalize the blessings or to let them go by as mere “coincidences.” I believe both great and small miracles happen every day and we let them go unnoticed, never expressing our gratitude. With this in mind I want to share some principles that will help me in celebrating:
1. I need to recognize the touch of my Master’s hand. I learned this lesson from our boys’ pet cat. During the course of Tom’s fifteen years, he had to be taken to the vet several times. It took the vet, two assistants and me to hold Tom down on the cold steel table. Somehow, Tom knew the vet’s office held only pain and trouble for him.
On one of the last visits of his life, the vet took Tom from my arms and put him on the table. With all the strength Tom could muster he put up his best fight. He became the growling, screeching, clawing tiger again. Yet, when I reached out and placed my hands upon him, I felt Tom relax. He became calm and peaceful with my touch. He knew I loved him and that brought peace. He knew the touch of his Master’s hand.
Recognizing the touch of my Master’s hand, I can relax, knowing that he loves me and will never leave me.
2. Nuisances can be blessings in disguise. Did you ever have a day when everything that could go wrong went wrong? I have had many of those. However, if I change my attitude I can find great blessings in what appears to me a nuisance.
A severe sinus infection caused a terrific roar in my ears. I couldn’t hear the twittering of birds that had annoyed me previously every morning. Their noise making had robbed me of sleep. After many trips to the doctor, I regained my normal hearing and realized my feathered friends had helped me by celebrating life and the blessing of hearing.
3. Scars are evidences of great love. It hurts to love. When we think of how much we love our children, only then can we realize a tiny bit of the love God has for us by the sacrificing of his Son. Those nail-scarred hands and nail-scarred feet are evidences of his great love. Someone has said, “God will not be looking for medals, but for scars, the evidences of love.”
4. God blesses with a wonderful surprise blessing every day. Before you close your eyes at night, look back over your day and you will find a wonderful surprise blessing. It doesn’t have to be monumental, although it can be. It can be as simple as an “I love you Mom” phone call. It can be a lovely sunset or a beautiful sunrise. It can be a surprise card, a love note or a visit from a friend. Be thankful and thank God for surprise blessings!
5. Seize great blessings in little things. For many years I had wanted a start of flowers that my grandmother had in my childhood. They were called “Bouncing Betts.” I could never find someone who even knew what they were until I mentioned them to a dear friend at church. “Oh, yes, I have some and will give you a start.” They bloomed in my flowerbed this year and I became a child again at Granny’s house. I love those little flowers. I seized a great blessing in such a simple little thing and it brought me much joy.
6. Enthusiasm expresses gratitude. Enthusiasm is contagious. I learned that from the “little people” I taught. Those 31 years held wonder, enthusiasm and gratitude from childlike hearts. What a wonderful way to celebrate life!
For a great new year, celebrate God’s many blessings and you will have many happy days.