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Instead of resolutions, I choose a theme for the New Year. This year my focus is thankfulness.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 (NIV)
I've never been good at keeping New Year's resolutions, but it's not for lack of trying. For nearly a decade, I was religious in my approach. The day after Christmas, I'd hole away for an hour and log ten or twelve goals for the coming year, using “I resolve to…” language and everything. I'd go strong through Valentine's Day, and then my once-laudable effort would fizzle and fall flat.
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Five years ago, I adopted a new approach. I opted instead for an annual theme. Humility, for instance, was one. Then, faithfulness, gentleness, peace. This January 1, I declared it the year of gratitude, a focus that has refocused my days and my gaze. Both the mundane and the meaningful around me now birth abundant reasons to stop and give thanks.
While scrambling eggs at daylight's first squint: Thank You, Father, for food, for refrigeration, for utensils, for nourishment that leads to strength.
While putting my daughter's diapers in the wash: Thank You for water and soap and electricity. Thank You for Prisca's development and good health.
While reviewing a new contract for a book deal: Thank You for work that I enjoy, for clients I admire, for subjects that make me want to live a whole and holy life.
While melting into my husband's embrace: Thank You for showing Your children how to love each other and You, and for being delighted when they do those things well.
So far, the year has taught me that “thank you” is a muscle that either atrophies or grows strong, and that flexing it on purpose always changes me for the good.
Father, let me encounter each moment of today with a ready “thank you” on my lips.