In years past, January's felt like such a 'blah' month. This year it hasn't, and I am thankful. Even as I notice the drab grey and brown world outside, I'm getting excited about spring bursting forth in a few (okay, so maybe more than a few!) months.
My husband and I were raised in Texas, but have made Kansas City our home for the past 16 years. We love it here: the people, the city, the four distinct seasons. I have come to appreciate the ugly-winter parts of the landscape, simply because they provide such a contrast to the beauty that bursts out in spring. I tell my kids that we don't appreciate good things as much if we always have those good things around. We humans need the contrasts around us to open our eyes to beauty and blessing. The Lord knows us and made us this way. We need the drab winter to feel pleasure when green comes. We need times of sickness to feel thankful for health. We need to at times experience loneliness and loss to value the loved ones in our lives. We need to see glimpses of darkness in ourselves and the world around us in order for Christ's perfect light to be precious to us.
As I get older, I'm starting to think that these contrasts, and the good they can do for us, are part of what we can "give thanks in all circumstances" for.