Great memories

Great memories help us fuel a thankful heart.

I noticed this week how my friend’s eyes lit up as he recalled the joy of long-distance bicycling.  For a moment, it took his mind away from the constant pain he has been dealing with for more than eight years from a mysterious illness.

As a Christian, I am called to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Remembering the blessings of God in the past – often family events – can spur gratitude when things are hectic or gloomy.

I believe the key is recognizing that all good gifts come from God (James 1:17).  They are the Lord’s way of giving us pleasure and showing his love for us.  They are a reminder that God is good.

These pleasures can be very simple.

In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp tells of her world-travelling aunt’s reaction to Voskamp’s little daughter’s ecstasy as they rolled a ball back and forth.

Weeks later, Voskamp’s aunt – an airline steward – sent her a note: “I will never forget your daughter’s wild joy in that ball – a happiness like I have never seen in all my travels through all these years.”

I recall a number of seemingly small moments in my life that shine in my mind many years later.  Somehow, I believe God has embedded them in my thoughts.

Of course, great events in our lives – and in the lives of others – can feed gratitude, too.

For example, Psalm 104 outlines God’s actions in Israel’s past as a means of offering thanks.

The writer says: “Remember the wonders he (God) has done, his miracles and the judgements he pronounced, O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.”

Sad memories can often cloud my view of God.

Happy and inspiring memories are the antidote.

They remind me that God loves me – and is always giving me good things.

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