Note: For the four weeks of Advent, this blog will highlight one scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C for each week. A discipline for the week will be suggested. It is in intended the discipline will fit into your daily life and utilize resources you already have on hand. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

The last five words I said to my children this morning were, “Yes. Yes. Yes! Get out.” As the girls pulled on jackets and grabbed backpacks I answered yes to, “Did you sign my reading log? Is my water bottle in my backpack? And do I have to wear a jacket?” My parting words were exclaimed as the benediction to finally getting them enroute to school. We had been up and at it for over an hour. It was time to move along.

After the door slammed, I walked over to the sink to finish loading the dishwasher. As Doug drove by the kitchen window, I saw the three of them in the car, and my heart whispered fondly, “I love those knuckleheads.”

Sometimes I forget how precious the people I see everyday are. I get drawn into praying for the huge hurts and damaging injustices of the world, and I forget to be thankful for the girls’ teachers who teach a classroom of students, for my pastor who prepares a sermon each week, for the cashier at the grocery store who remembers my name, and for my dear friends who make time to call, visit, and share. I forget to offer thanksgiving for those persons who make my life good.

In Philippians, Paul writes to a community whom he loves. They have been good to him both with emotional and financial support. They know him and his ministry, and their familiarity expresses thankfulness. Likewise, Paul knows this community and he “thanks my God for you and constantly prays with joy.” Rather than letting the familiarity harbor ungratefulness Paul remembers these people fondly and his heart exclaims, “Thank you.”

As we journey through the second week of Advent, let us pray without ceasing for those familiar to us. As a tangible expression of this prayer, cut a circle from a piece of heavy cardstock or draw a circle on a blank page in your planner. Starting at the outer edge, begin listing people in your home, in your church, and in your community for whom your heart swells in thankfulness when you remember him/her. Add to the circle all week until it is filled with names. Then hang the circle of prayers on your Christmas tree or on your bathroom mirror where you can see the names of those for whom you are so grateful.

Let us pray words of thankfulness for those who make our lives better because of their presence.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.