The world is not all bad. God has seen to that. Let me explain by commencing at the beginning.
It is nearly time for a new day to dawn. Before the sun is seen, the sky lightens, the stars disappear from our sight and the clouds are much the same shade as they have been all night. Suddenly, without a touch of the fanfare the scene deserves, the heavens start to colour. From paleness to striking tones of orange and magenta, with patches of yellow to fill in the spaces, the sky is now aglow. But how many of us are out there to see these gorgeous colours displayed before our wondering eyes?
Then, our attention is drawn to the arc of a circle of hot orange as that massive ball of charged particles peers over the horizon. We are entranced, trying not to look too long, but drawn back again as the sun of our solar system, which controls much of what happens on planet Earth, displays all its glory.
Soon the majestic sight of the heavens starts to pale and the clouds appear in their normal wrappings of white and grey. A new day is borne.
Now we can stroll through our garden or venture to a park and see the results of diligent gardeners as they have done their best to brighten our sometimes-grey lives. At home, flowers stare up at the sky, almost in any season, but especially in spring. In my little patch at the front of my villa there are three pots, burgundy in colour, that contain gaillardia of the yellow variety, seemingly bursting their little heads as they, of the sunflower family, absorb every small sparkle of light.
My now-resting wife’s favourite flowers, daffodils and pansies, are many people’s favourites. Wordsworth thought so much of daffodils that he wrote a poem about them. How many school students have been made aware of this piece over the years?
And pansies—how we admire their pretty little “faces”—the perfect border flower.
There are so many of God’s not-so-little gifts in the natural world they cannot be listed here, but you know them as do I. Why don’t we offer our thanks more often to the One who made them all? Three of these beautiful, sturdy and stateley gifts are flowers, trees and mountains.
But wait, there is more! As humans, we are made for company, for relationship, for companionship and how we miss that closeness when someone is torn from us, or, perhaps worse still, when we are rejected for someone else. The highlights of our lives, though, are experiences we have shared with someone else, someone closer to us than any other. What a blessing is the gift of memory when we can call to mind in an instant some special event, some words that belong particularly between us and none other.
All these things are what we humans enjoy with our senses but there is one very great gift that we cannot praise God enough for and that is the gift of salvation.
How can God love us so much that He was willing to give us that perfect God-child who would later die for us in order to give us the gift of eternal life? It is something, I believe, that we will never fully comprehend.
Space limits how much can be said about God’s not-so-little gifts. The least we can do beyond enjoying these is to thank Him with joy and fervour. Often. Every day. He likes to hear us say, “Thank You with all my heart!”
William Ackland is retired in Cooranbong (NSW) and has written eight books.