One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from both my daughters is finding joy in the small things in life. My oldest is now a teenager, so it doesn’t manifest itself in the same way it does for my 9 year-old anymore. My younger daughter gets excited, looks forward to and enjoys the simplest things. Today, she is excited and giddy her school will serve a Thanksgiving meal for lunch. Her class has finished reading the Wizard of Oz and will watch the movie tomorrow. I’ve heard about these two events for the last week several times now. Today and tomorrow, more than likely, I will get a replay of both, and Kai will enjoy telling me about it as much as she did experiencing it. I appreciate the reminder to find the joy in the small things from a child’s perspective.
Kai has a classmate, Madison, who also knows how to find joy in the small things. Last year as a part of a math lesson, the kids make French toast in the classroom and the parents were invited to breakfast. All of the kids were excited to crack the eggs and measure the ingredients to make their own toast. I overheard Madison, with joyful delight and to know one in particular, exclaim, “This is the best day of my life!” I chuckled to myself and thought, “Well, it doesn’t take much for you, huh?” Later in the year when the kids chose to go the Golden Corral after visiting the science museum, she said the same thing. And, then again after the end-of-the year “fun” field trip to the bowling alley and arcade. I wanted to ask Madison, which day was REALLY the best day of her life. But, I realized everyday experiences provided new opportunities to find joy for her.
As adults, we can learn from children on how to cultivate a life of thankfulness and joy. Responsibilities, bills, careers and jobs, rat race schedules, sickness, bad news, demanding kids, ailing parents, and the like can distract us from looking for and finding joy in life. But, when we take the time to find joy in the moment that leads to living thankfully. When we take the time to notice God’s hand in the details—in even the smallest things—we find joy.
Of course we take time to thank God for the big stuff: family, health, provisions, etc. But, do we take the time to find joy in the small things? I expect to have good fellowship with my friends when we get together. But, I have learned to savor the moment: the hearty laugh or the shared intimacy. I am intentional about looking at God’s handiwork with the change of each season, especially spring and fall. It reminds me of the beauty He creates, but most of all His character. He is a God of order. I can also find joy in ordinary days—nothing out of the ordinary happened. But, I was still long enough to feel the presence of God.
In what small thing can you find joy today? For what small thing can you express your gratitude to the Lord today? Just as clearly as we see those things that attempt to rob us of joy, we have to be intentional in finding the joy. Being present in and savoring the moment helps us experience joy and leads to a lifestyle of thankful living not just at Thanksgiving, but every day.