One of my favorite movies, and I will confess to watching it at any time of the year, is “White Christmas.” You all know the movie. The producers went through the catalogue of Irving Berlin songs, created a flimsy story to weave them all together and created a classic.
One of my favorite songs in this film is “Count Your Blessings.”
When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
and I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
This lyric has a powerful message and I have to think that when Mr. Berlin was writing it he thought back to his early days of struggle on the lower Eastside of New York City, living as an immigrant from Russia and just trying to get by day to day. In the midst of the life he was living at that time stopping to count his blessings had to seem a bit daunting. Daunting – but powerful.
Our recognition of our blessings is powerful. In the middle of whatever is going on in our lives counting our blessings can set for us a new course, one that before our recognition of those blessings was most likely unknown to us.
For me the truly amazing thing about blessings – and they can also be called miracles – is that they are all around us, but so often we fail to see them, to connect them. They are with us to lift us up and remind us of the unconditional love of God, but we fail to see those things that are right in front of us because the direction of our thinking has been so placed on the opposite. The struggle, the lack, the limitation.
I think that the biggest obstacle we have in life is our thoughts of fear. Fear is the very thing that will stop us in our tracks every time. Our default setting seems to be set to one of fear. We have become programmed this way by years of seeing life as a constant struggle. Fear will cause us to not do the things we think we want to do, it will cause us to question our own abilities, it will even cause us to imagine things that aren’t even present and we feel are working against us.
Fear will convince us that we are not enough, that we don’t have the abilities to succeed, it will convince us that our only way forward is to repeat our patterns of the past and that our future is just a carbon copy of every other day we have ever lived. Tomorrow will only be a carbon copy of today if our thinking about tomorrow remains the same as our thinking today. I love the saying, change your thinking, change your life. It’s true. What is the dominant direction of your thinking? Start by counting your blessings and the entire focus of your thinking will shift to a new and more powerful truth.
I firmly believe that the root of this fear is our feelings and thoughts of a separation from God. We think that there is us, and there is God and our life’s work must be to somehow connect with this far-away spiritual presence. Maybe if we do all the right things, say all the right prayers, maybe then we can convince God to bless us.
But God is not separate and far away from us. The God we seek, the Spiritual presence we desire is always right within us at this and every moment. What we are seeking has already found us and it dwells right where we are. Too often we fail to see and experience it because we have failed to look within.
Our prayers, our meditations and our spiritual work is to daily chip away at these fears that have been built into our lives like a self-protective crust shielding us from the outside world. Our own thinking has created a barrier to the good that we seek. We need to chip away at this barrier, this crust, and beginning by counting our blessings can be a powerful way to begin.
The wonderful and creative artist Michelangelo was asked how he could have ever created anything as magnificent as the statue of David. How could he have even imagined that out of some huge block of marble there could be this statue? What he said in reply was that he knew the beautiful figure of the David was right there. God had already created it inside that block of marble and what he as the human artist had to do was just chip away all that was blocking his view of that incredible reality. The David was there, waiting for him to reveal it.
The blessings of Spirit are within us, waiting to be revealed and recognized. Chip away at all that blocks you from the truth of who you really are as God’s perfect creation by changing your mind. You can begin by simply counting your blessings.
When I have starting counting my blessings I seem to find more and more things for which to be grateful.
You are blessed because God is a God of blessings. God is in the blessing business.
If God had a business card it would read: GOD. Blessing Business.
God loves you, cares for you. Hurts when you hurt, rejoices when you rejoice and God counts YOU as a blessing. Yes, God counts YOU as a blessing. What do you think about that?
Counting your blessings is a mantra. Counting your blessings is a meditation. Counting your blessings is a powerful form of prayer and counting your blessings is a form of stewardship of the things that God has given to you.
Seeing and thanking God for one small blessing reveals another and another and another. You are abundantly blessed, you may just not know it right now because you are looking in the wrong places.
Count your blessings and you will be changed.
A young man named Israel Beline on the lower East-side of New York City, a refugee from the pogroms in Russian, would start to write songs under the name of Irving Berlin. His songs would be about possibility, hope, and blessings.
Count your blessings, for God loves you, walks with you, cares for you, and always remember, God counts YOU as a blessing to this world.
Rev. Jefferson Beeker
We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.
Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.
Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.