It’s the time of year where lists are not only common; they’re necessary. Lists to Santa detailing what we want for Christmas. Lists of all the people to whom we need to send a Christmas card—half of whom we don’t even know. Shopping lists for all the goodies we need for the perfect Christmas dinner. Lists of ingredients. Lists of activities. Lists of lists to keep track of. And some are even getting a headstart on their lists of New Year’s resolutions.
Lists are good. They help keep things orderly and often enable us to do the things we need to do in an efficient manner. And they’re certainly a necessity for those of us who can walk into the store to pick up two things and forget what one of them was before reaching the second aisle. But I’m afraid in the hustle and bustle and juggling of lists, we’re leaving out the most important one—the Blessings List.
You see, if you think about it, all of those lists we have lying around are for things that we want but don’t yet have, which on the surface makes sense. After all, why do we need to make a list of things we already have? Maybe so that our focus doesn’t grow warped during this busy holiday season. It’s easy to become consumed with those lists of wants and, in the process, become discontent with our lot in life. However, if we sit down at least once a week and write down some of our blessings, our minds will have something positive on which to dwell.
Just this past week I was bemoaning a current situation in my life, and to be honest, it was sapping all the joy out of the holidays. I didn’t want to decorate. I didn’t feel like shopping for gifts. I was in no mood to practice for the church Christmas program. All I could think about was my invisible list of things that I wanted out of life—things that God has not yet allowed me to have. Discontent. Moody. Bitter. In short, I would have made an excellent Ebenezer Scrooge. “Bah Humbug” was my daily motto.
That is, until, Sunday night when I heard the story of a missionary that was suffering some major trials. As I listened to his story, I couldn’t help but wiggle in my seat. This man had lost nearly everything in a matter of months, and I began to realize how much I had taken the blessings of God for granted. As I sat there, I began making a mental list of the things this man had lost that I still possessed. It was an eye-opening experience.
Don’t throw out your grocery list or list of Christmas cards. That is not the intention of this article. What I do ask, however, is that you take the time to jot down a list of things with which God has blessed you. A home. A happy marriage. Healthy children. Salvation. A good church. Make the list as long as you desire and keep it handy. Then, when the deadly dart of discontentment strikes you, pull out that list and remember what God has done for you. Make the list and check it twice. . . or three times. . . or as many times as it takes to restore your joy.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. – Psalm 103:2