Sunday, December 07, 2008

Count Your Blessings

Construction workers are losing their jobs. As are auto workers. And teachers. And Walmart employees. And publishing company department heads.

Baby Boomers are mourning the loss of hard-earned retirement funds they'll now never see.

Young people are not on the cusp of the American Dream. They're experiencing foreclosure and bankruptcy.

If surveyed, who would answer, "No, this economic downturn hasn't affected our family or friends at all"?

The snowglobe of our security has been shaken again. This time by the economy. How do we respond? How do we carry ourselves until the snow settles?

When I asked the Lord that question today in regard to friends of ours who are struggling, the answer came, "Count your blessings."

"Yes, Lord, but it looks really, really bad for--"

"Count your blessings."

"You mean, the fact that we still have food, even if it isn't fancy. And we still have a roof overhead, even if it isn't ideal? And we still have clothes to wear, even if they've seen too many trips through the washing machine...and that we still have a washing machine?"

"It's a start."

I wondered where that old song--"Count Your Blessings"--originated. Was it written during the Great Depression? Wouldn't that be cool?

But no. It was written in 1897. As I researched, I found a great quote about that song, which became a favorite of its time and has moved those who sing it for more than a century now, through all kinds of upturns, downturns, and plateaus.

"'In South London," a reporter of the time wrote, "the men sing it, the boys whistle it, and the women rock their babies to sleep on this hymn.'" During the great revival in Wales it was one of the hymns sung at every service along with such Welsh favorites as "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" and "O That Will be Glory."

Is it time to revisit the hymn...and the sentiment?