Life is too short not to celebrate the good things. A young boy found a tree that was perfect for climbing. He went there often whenever he wanted to be alone, or even just to imagine he was doing exciting things. One day, he was an astronaut. The next day, he was a cowboy on the prairie. But soon the little boy would not be able to play in the tree anymore, because his father wanted to cut it down. He said the tree wasn’t producing any fruit, so it would have to go.

The child came up with a plan: The day before his father was to cut the tree down, he and a friend picked all the apples they could find — some were green, a few were yellow, and others were red. Then they tied them to the tree with strings.

In the morning, the young boy’s father said, “I’ve just seen a miracle. The tree outside has a bunch of apples growing on it. No, wait — it’s a double-miracle because that’s a pear tree.” When the kindhearted father saw how much the tree meant to his son, he allowed him to keep it.

We each have more than our share of grief, doubts, fears, and sorrows. When we choose to celebrate the good things in the midst of hard times, it allows us to have joy. If we think about it, we can find plenty of good things in even the worst circumstances of life. We just have to look for them. David said those who love and trust God should be shouting for joy because He protects them, blesses them, and surrounds them with His favor.

What’s keeping you from rejoicing today? Are you scared because you might lose your job? Thank God you have a job. Are you disappointed because you weren’t able to spend Thanksgiving with your son or daughter serving in the military overseas? You can thank God they are alive and well. When you learn to celebrate the good things in life, you will be more joyful and less under the control of your circumstances.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder