I have a garden in my backyard that consists of all kinds of citrus trees and I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I have been for God’s provision and the beauty He creates all throughout the earth. My citrus trees are in fine form, branches drooping with ripe Tangelo’s, lemons starting to turn a nice yellow color and larger than anything I see in the grocery store. The grapefruit looks like it is getting close and I just can’t get over how as we hit cold and flu season I have trees overloaded with juicy sweet citrus fruit.
Yesterday afternoon I stepped outside with a large bowl to go retrieve some of the fruit on the Tangelo trees and just felt overwhelmed with gratitude. The late afternoon light was streaming through the citrus trees and glistening out on the water beyond like sparkling diamonds, and a perfect breeze was rusting though the leaves of the trees. I could feel the preciousness of the moment. I can’t explain it except to say that a feeling of perfect contentment and gratitude settled over me, making me stop, look around me and soak in that stillness.
As I picked the fruit, I spent time savoring the experience, taking my time, enjoying the peace of the moment. Quite frankly, peace and moments of perfect contentment and enjoyment don’t come often enough nowadays. So, as I picked, I would take little moments to smell the aroma of the citrus, savor little bites of the fruit and really just savor the beauty around me. It was a perfect gift of time from my heavenly father. I couldn’t help but be overcome with thankfulness for the gift of God’s creation. God could have just made everything utilitarian and not aesthetically pleasing, yet in His grace He went far above and beyond by providing such enjoyment for mankind. In that moment I had to just stop and worship him, because it all points back to Him and to our worship of Him. What a marvelous, loving God to have created all of this beauty and gifts of His goodness!
How many moments to give thanks to our heavenly father have I missed because I was too busy to stop and listen and look and really to just savor a moment? I love that we have this wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. How amazing that we have a holiday that is all about stopping for a bit to think of the things we are thankful for, yet even in the bustle of preparation for this amazing day, I have often failed to stop and really savor that experience. By the time we make it to the table I’m tired and not in the mindset of reflection. This year I feel called to do it differently…to not let another year go by where I miss the point.
As I write this I’m sitting on my couch gazing at a fire crackling in the fireplace savoring the simple beauty and enjoying the soft blanket my sweet daughter Sydney lovingly placed on me. I reach over and rub her arm and she reaches back, pulls my hand to her chest, wraps her arms around it, hugs it tight and kisses it, and I’m thankful for this moment. I’m thankful for the fire and for her innocent wholehearted love. I’m thankful that Connor is home from Auburn and and the whole family is all here together under one roof and that things feel peaceful and perfect on this beautiful night. And most of all I’m thankful for God’s grace that allows me to savor and enjoy it all.
Scriptures for Meditation
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:4-5
“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” ~ Romans 1:20
“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds.” ~ Psalm 148:7-10