Today I want to share my favorite Christmas gifts to give that you can make with your children!
I decided my kids and I would make these jars for every family member and loved one- in hopes to spread the joy of gratitude in the every day. It was a laborious and beautiful task, that I hope blesses those who receive it. May each jar be filled each year, as they too- practice the art of counting their blessings.
I base the Blessings Jar off of Phil 4:8, which if you have been reading me for a while, you know it’s one of my most used and most favorite verses EVER. Gratitude has power. And it is a gift that many tend to take for granted.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Nothing rewarding is never really easy.
We fill our own jar on a regular basis, by writing down on a piece of paper what we are thankful for and putting it in the jar. This is a task and a chore at times, as my kids may groan or sigh in this assignment. Even my husband and I struggle to remember the significant and sometimes small blessings that have occurred throughout the week’s fullness and busyness. I remind them that we can find gratitude in so many little things in our lives, not just the big events or celebrations or victories. This is why I find the practice of gratitude to be so important:
Over and over again, in hopes that we develop the unconditional habit of praising Him in every detail of our lives, always striving to “think about such things”.
It would be easy to pass through our days and weeks and months with a smile and a nod, a fluttering thought and a brushing breath of gratefulness. But I want to record and affirm in our hearts a deeper cultivation of true thanksgiving. I seek to further our thoughtfulness and grow and stretch us beyond a mere “thank you”. There is always this overwhelming tide that pushes furiously to the next day, which can leave us dismissing and neglecting true gratitude.
I want to impart the greatest treasure in living with a heart that sees and recognizes each and every moment God offers us His Greatness.
Perhaps my intention flows even deeper. For in my children’s lives, there will be darker days and moments that bind their hearts with grief or sadness or anger. There will be loss and rage and injustice and pain. There will be questioning and confusion and searching for answers. It’s those times, I pray they steady their course with intentional thanksgiving, and realize its illuminating power.
Every New Year’s Day, we open our jar filled with a year’s worth of blessings that we have captured on paper. We read each one of them together and bask in the celebration of our bounty.
I will keep that jar, and date the year. I am collecting them as we grow and learn what it means to live, bringing to light all that is worthy of praise.
So we decided to make a jar for all of our family and loved ones one Christmas. I thought it would be such a neat way to share this message, and my kids wrote several personal blessing for each person’s jar to get them started! It was time consuming and labor intensive for my kids to think of each individual and identify specific blessings in that person’s life to write down and add to the jar. It was an incredible way for my kids to serve those they love and stretch their own perspectives out to someone else’s life experiences. I was so proud of their ability to see the blessings in other people’s lives and witness their compassion and thoughtfulness through all they wrote for each person’s jar.
These words are wrapped around each jar…
The Blessings Jar
You have a bounty of blessings to behold…
In the every day, every hour, every moment.
Gratitude is the greatest gift we hold,
Yet, only if we open it.
Our family has a Blessings Jar.
To practice this fine art.
Taking time to seek and find
Setting time apart…
To note each thing that is praiseworthy,
Noticing God’s Hand
The task itself, brings forth the gift
Unwrap it when you can…
The children began the work for you
Claiming pieces of your life
‘Blessings’ if you will,
To start your jar tonight.
Add or take, as you need
Blessings to and fro.
Look with wonder at your life
And search high and low…
Even on those difficult days
There’s still a light you’ll see
Find blessings in your darkest times
When God will be with thee.
Collect these gifts in the jar
To read when you desire.
Find joy and hope, light and love
Gratitude has power.
How do you practice Philippians 4:8 in your home?