Who knew a card company could make me so sad and mad?
I was browsing through the greeting cards section of a store--looking for the perfect card to give to a family member with an upcoming birthday. You’re probably familiar with the routine . . . sifting through the numerous rows, picking up various contenders, reading the pre-set messages from beginning to end, rejecting contestants one-by-one, and returning them back to their rightful spot on the shelves. This diligent selection process continues until the winner is found.
As I was going through the motions of this customary practice, my little light eyes were drawn to a card that had brightly lit candles all across the front. This initial browse was off to a good start, so I continued to read the words written on the front:
“Dad, on your birthday, count your blessings, NOT the candles!”
Okay . . . the word “blessings” appears . . . I like it. (It's not about age--it's about God . . . good, good.) Then I opened the remainder of the accordion card and finished reading:
“No one wants to stand around all day waiting for a piece of cake.”
Did you catch it? Were you offended too? Some of you may be thinking . . . take it easy Sarah, it’s just a card. But to me, it contained a heart-breaking societal message. Let me break it down for you.
I believe the author of this card was trying to crack a joke and convey that the Dad who was receiving this card is old. Since it would take a long time to count all of the age-representative birthday candles, he might as well just count his blessings instead. (Conveying a “Let’s get on with this” attitude.) This way the gathered guests can eat a piece of the delicious cake right away, instead of waiting around for a lengthy numeral sequence.
In my disappointment and disgust, I counted the candles. There were about seventy. Do you know how long it took me to count ALL of those candles? Less than a minute. So this means that the person receiving this card can’t think of enough blessings in his life to surpass the length of a minute.
In my mind, I was thinking it should take WAY LONGER to count blessings than passing years of life. If that were an ice cream cake being served from the picture on the card, it should be melted and dripping all over the place with the time needed to reflect upon the gracious blessings that are given to us.
“We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—blessing upon blessing heaped upon us!” (John 1:16 TLB)
As you gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, remember and appreciate the abundant blessings that God has given you. Even if it takes longer than a minute to acknowledge them (and it should) before diving into the turkey, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce, and all of the other foods people are waiting to devour. Let them wait. Lift up praise and thanksgiving to the One who supplied it all.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5 NIV)
P.S. I think a more appropriate message could have been:
"Dad, on your birthday, count your kids, NOT the candles!"
But that's just my opinion:)