It only seems fitting to share a few thoughts on gratitude as we approach the Christmas season and prepare for Thanksgiving this week. As we look back on the year, many of us may have experienced unexpected losses, unfulfilled expectations, incomplete resolutions, or disappointments. Since life is never just all bad or all good, mixed in between those moments may have been new opportunities, sharpened character, hearty laughter, deepened friendships, growing devotion, or a new season of life.
Whether you have had a taste of more lows than highs or if it was the other way around for you, if there is one thing about gratitude, it is that it supersedes our circumstances and enriches our lives. It is a virtue that is worthy of our nurturing not only during the holiday seasons or on Thanksgiving Day but in our everyday life - hardships, mundane, and mourning included.
So, why should we consider gratitude today? Because it is God's will for us.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 encourages but, most importantly, commands us to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. Why? Because that is God's will for us in Christ Jesus. His will is not for us to live in ingratitude or thanklessness but grow in gratitude and all the fruits that come with it. We can grow in gratitude not only by practicing it daily, but by asking God in prayer to grow our hearts and open our eyes to seeing all that we can give thanks for.
C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, "We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country." When we practice gratitude, we show that we are content with where God has us and trust Him through hardships.
Gratitude has little to do with our circumstances and more to do with our hearts. We can set our hearts on temporary, worldly comforts and achievements. Or, we can set our hearts on our heavenly home, our glorious God, and the purpose He has placed us here for. At the same time, gratitude is nurtured in the small, everyday things of life. A refreshing glass of water, an encouraging word, a new day, raising a child, or the opportunity to serve someone. So, wherever you find yourself, I hope you know that God's joy and gratitude are extended to you today and every day after.
A Prayer for You:
I am so grateful for Your grace and kindness towards me. Thank You for another year of Your faithfulness, despite my unfaithfulness at times. Thank You for my loved ones, for Your providence, and for the gift of a new day. Please help me to grow in gratitude, and grant me the eyes to see Your wonder working hands in my life each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.