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A Bountiful Harvest: Counting Your Blessings

November is a time when we're called to give thanks for things in our life. Seasonally, it's a time of harvest, and the feast of Thanksgiving traditionally represents the bounty of the fields. But it's not always easy to abound with gratitude, especially if life in general is difficult or doesn't seem to be going your way in this season.

Johnson Oatman, Jr. knew this when he penned the song "Count Your Blessings" in 1897. This century-old song is still popular in many churches today, particularly in November. You might remember singing this in church growing up or even into adulthood, and it's worth considering the lyrics again from your assisted living apartment this year.

Count Your Many Blessings

The chorus calls us to count our many blessings — even after a verse that admits we might be tempest-tossed and discouraged by life.

The truth is that God's people do always have some blessings to count, though you might have to look past your own frustrations at times to see them. No matter how you're approaching this holiday season and what life has thrown your way, take some time to think about the things God has done in your life and the many blessings you can count.

Name Them One by One

The song doesn't let you off the hook with simply admitting you do have some blessings in life. It calls you to name them individually.

This is actually a practice recommended by many productivity and life coaching experts. A number of planners and productivity methods revolve around reflecting at the beginning or end (or both) of each day and giving thanks for blessings in writing. Taking time to call out what you can be thankful for can boost your mood, help you live a more positive life and put your burdens into more perspective. Especially when one of the blessings you can count is the spirit of Christ within you.

See What God Has Done

So, says the song, "amid the conflict great and small," you can count it a blessing that "God is over all." And by taking time to really count and consider the blessings in your life, you glorify God by coming to understand what He has done — and is doing — in your life.

Ideas for Counting Your Blessings

Having trouble getting into the spirit of the song? Here are a few tips for boosting your attitude of gratitude in November and beyond.

  • Start a gratitude journal. Write daily about something you were blessed with or thankful for that day.
  • Add a time of thanksgiving to your devotional or prayer time. If you don't already, make sure to thank God every time you pray.
  • Be thankful with others. You don't have to gather around a turkey and dressing to publicly state what you're thankful for. If you meet assisted living community friends for coffee or to walk each day, start a habit of spending a few minutes sharing a word of thanksgiving with each other.