Editor's Views posted by


Photo by Ronny Perry, United Methodist Communications

By Jessica Brodie

Most every morning I drink my coffee from a cup that reminds me that if I count my blessings, one by one, it will surprise me what the Lord has done.

I normally read those cheerful little words and get a flash of any number of big-picture blessings: my health, my beautiful children, fulfilling work that is as much my ministry passion as it is my job, a good car to drive, a roof over my head, enough food to eat. Most recently a huge blessing has come my way: marriage to my very best friend, who is truly the most wonderful man I have ever met. I have so much to be grateful for, and I thank God for this.

But this week, as I settle into my new married life and begin to this about the coming holiday season, I have begun to wonder if I’m giving too much attention to the “forest,” these big picture blessings, and not enough attention to the small miracles in life, the “trees.” These happen daily, and sometimes so quickly they get lost in the shuffle. But aren’t they important, too? Perhaps just as, if not more, important? The smile of a stranger. A simple beam of sunlight. One little tuft of green struggling for life on the interstate. The feel of a child’s hand in mine. The smell of cinnamon as I pass a bakery.

It’s easy sometimes to get so caught up in the difficulties of life or the grandiose moments that we skip right over the stuff that makes being human so incredible. No matter our circumstances, whether we are sick or have just lost a loved one or are surviving in a war-torn community or have just lost our job—or won the lottery—the world still manages to spin despite the ups and downs that make up our daily existence. And as much as we want to focus on the big picture blessings, I think we short-shrift ourselves and God when we dismiss the small moments as trivial.

The fact remains that no matter what—whether we are in Palestine or Aiken or Bosnia or Columbia—the same sun still shines on all of us. The same God cradles us in times of joy as in grief. Love sounds and feels the same in any language. These are the purest, most universal blessings.

This Christmas season, I’m feeling called to celebrate all these things of beauty. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I know God will show me.

Meanwhile, I’m blessed—and so are we all. No matter our circumstances.


  • I would urge you to go into the called vocation of pastoral ministry, but I realize that you have responded to God’s call on your lifer and that you are serving in a ministry that can touches so many more lives than might be the case if you were serving a local church. We in the SC Conference are blessed by your presence and your ministry in our midst. Matt is indeed the most fortunate of men, .

    • Wow, George, thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate it.

  • Jessica,
    Thank you so much for these words. When I first saw the article, I thought that I do not have time to read this; I have lots of other stuff to be doing right now. Then I saw that it was short so I gave it a ride and read it. Obviously, your words touched me some place important within me. You said so much is in such few words. Again, thank you.

    • Doug, I really appreciate that! It means a lot!

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