Day 13 of Holiday Traditions // Deanna Skinner

A Time for Recognizing and Remembering Blessings

Our family has many traditions we enjoy beginning with Thanksgiving. We remember the pilgrims, fall harvest, and the faith of those that settled before us. We offer God our gratitude as the founder of our country and as the giver of the freedoms we enjoy because of His favor. We move into the Christmas season recognizing that because of the birth of Jesus and later His death and resurrection, we can have the most treasured gift of life: salvation! Christmas comes with meaningful church services, family gatherings, and parties - reminders for our family of the meaning of Christmas. However, in the past four years, my favorite holiday tradition has taken place on New Year’s Day. Not because of the black-eyed peas, pork, greens, rice, or cornbread, but because we intentionally focus on what God does for our family EVERY day all year long!

Four years ago I completed the Bible Study, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. The book dared me to live fully right where I was. This required me to change my thinking daily and to begin recognizing gifts in my life. I started by jotting down big, small, positive, or even sometimes not desirable events in my family’s life and recognizing them as gifts from God. The book suggested creating a list of 1,000 gifts. My prayer life began to change as well because I ask God to help me be able to recognize blessings in my life. Shortly after I completed this study, a sweet friend suggested I get a jar and label it “Blessings.” She encouraged me to fill the jar with blessings God had made known to our family.

And so, the birth of my new favorite tradition began. For the past four years on New Year’s Day, our family has gathered around the table as we opened our “Blessings” jar. Each family member added blessings that took place in their lives or in the life of our family during the year. It is VERY special to reflect on events which occurred in our family and see God’s hand in ALL of it. Not all of the blessings are things we would have necessarily chosen to be in the jar. My grandmother passed away on September 15, 2015. Very frail at 103, she had lost her eyesight and battled skin cancer. Granny was ready to meet Jesus. Having asked God to make Himself known in various situations, we accepted her loss on earth as heaven’s gain. A blessing!

It  has been amazing and, at times, overwhelming to reflect on God’s goodness to our family. We laugh (and sometimes cry) remembering the journey that we have completed in just one year. We then rest knowing God was in control of every “Blessing” in that jar.

My friend’s simple suggestion has made an enormous impact on our family’s perspective of “Blessings.” We now eagerly anticipate what the New Year might bring. This new tradition reminds our family that our privilege in the New Year is to recognize Him in the the day to day business of our lives. To me, it reminds me to live out Thanksgiving and Christmas EVERY single day of the year!

“...the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him…” Romans 10:12

  • What can you do this New Year to recognize God in the daily business of your life?
  • When you go to God in prayer, are you prepared to receive blessings that may not be what you expected?
  • How will you choose to respond?

Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen

// Deanna

Recipe for a Great New Year

  • Give God the glory for each day you are gifted to live
  • Spend time with Jesus often
  • Consider a blessings jar
  • Love God
  • Love your family
  • Love people
  • Work hard
  • Play hard
  • To every blessing of 2017!

Deanna Sinner is the new Office Manager at Wiregrass Hope Group. She and her husband, Alan, have been married 26 years having been highschool sweethearts at Bainbridge High School in Bainbridge, Georgia. Deanna received her bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and State University and her master’s degree from Troy University. Alan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Tech. The Skinners have two children, William (19) and Catherine (18) who attend Auburn University. The Skinner family enjoys traveling as a family and camping with friends. Deanna admits the kitchen is her favorite room in the house because it seems that’s where good conversations, and family meals take place. And, of course, it is the home for the family’s Blessing jar! The Skinner family attends First Baptist Church of Dothan.