I am intrigued by all of the hype and attention that the Academy Awards (aka Oscars) have gained in the news media this morning. There is a lot of triumphant jingoistic celebration of those Brits who have won awards. I am not having a grump about that at all. Well done to them, I say.
But what about all those who were unsuccessful? I don’t watch awards shows (mainly because I find them a bit tedious) but I know that one of the things they do is show the faces of those who were nominated but were unsuccessful. Those who have lost have to sit there, smiling, being gracious, trying not to look too upset, and trying to convey a ‘well done to the person who won, it was an honour just to be nominated’ attitude while inside they may be feeling really disappointed. That must be difficult!
And then there are the many people who were not even nominated. What about them? I would watch a TV show that celebrated everyone who was never nominated for an award (including those ‘unsung heroes’ awards which suddenly make them ‘sung heroes’).
Celebrate the single mum whose patience was rewarded when she has just seen her difficult child make some progress.
Celebrate the person who baked someone a cake ‘just because’.
Celebrate the woman who gave up her seat on the train for the person who was struggling to stand up.
Celebrate the car driver who let someone pull out and smiled as they did it.
Celebrate the bloke who sent and encouraging text to his friend.
Celebrate the child who gave come of their lunch to their friend who had forgotten theirs.
Celebrate the neighbour who took in your parcel that could not be delivered because you were out…
You get the idea.
These small acts of kindness will never gain public recognition. They may not even receive a ‘thank you’. But they are good. They are kind. They are wonderful. They are worth celebrating. They are signs of God’s kingdom.
“Woah! Hold on!” you may say. “I was with you until you started getting all ‘preacher’ on me.” I don’t mean to ‘get all preacher on you’ but I do believe that it is true. We are bombarded with so many bad news stories by the media (which is perhaps why they go so overboard with awards that counterbalance that) that I think sometimes we are predisposed to focus on the negative, the nasty, the unpleasant and even think that God is either indifferent to us or doesn’t exist. And that then can lead us to a very unbalanced view of the world.
But if we look for the good, the lovely, the blessing we will see that life is not as bad as we might have feared. And I believe that goodness, loveliness, blessings and the like are glimpses of God’s kingdom because they are like his grace, his mercy, his kindness, his love and so on.
Whether or not you attribute them to him or just to human nature is irrelevant, I still see them as signs of his Kingdom (where he is in charge). Just because you don’t thank someone for a birthday present does not mean that they didn’t give you the present!
So, today, I encourage you to celebrate those who will never win an award but who are making a difference nonetheless.
Be blessed, be a blessing.