“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I almost missed it.
I was driving at the time, so my eyes were on the road. (A good thing, I’m sure you’ll agree.) So there I was, minding my own business, when I happened to glance to my left.
There they were.
About fifteen or so, gliding along close enough to me to see a few details of their beautiful proportions and elegant flight pattern.
Swans aren’t too common around here. Sure, they migrate through these parts fall and spring like clockwork. But they don’t nest in this area. They don’t tend to hang around here for too long – it’s like their travel agents booked them on an express service and they are afraid that the best real estate for nesting will be snapped up by their busybody neighbours.
So they book it. We see them feeding or resting once in a while from a distance, but that’s about it.
Because of that, this chance encounter was a lovely sight for me – a mini flock of fantastically beautiful creatures relatively close to my vantage point. A real treat!
And it made me wonder – what else am I missing while minding my own business?
It reminded me to be thankful in all circumstances.
Now, this verse is usually used when folks are trying to encourage us to protect our good attitudes on bad days. I’ve used it that way myself. But my brush with those swans reminded me to be thankful for the ordinary things.
Thankful. Always, thankful.
As in, noticing the lovely surprises, the simple pleasures of the day. Being fully present to the beautiful possibilities of a chance encounter, a fresh dewy morning, the way the light hits the trees.
I’m usually in a hurry and already planning the next thing when I could be seeing swans, so to speak.
I’m sure you can relate.
What if we chose to slow down? Use our eyes and ears and hearts and see what is around us? What if we took delight in the simple things – like children?
I wonder what would change inside us if we were alive and open to the simple beauties around us.
Take the time to appreciate and be grateful for God’s lovely gifts with me?
Father, You delight in Your creation and have designed nature with so much magnificence. Remind us to slow down and enjoy these good gifts, to foster a thankful heart that will appreciate the wonders of Your creation. Amen.