I totally understand the rush so many experienced this year to put up their Christmas decorations as soon as Halloween decorations were returned to the attic. It has been that kind of year. We need something to celebrate. We need something we can anticipate that is goodness personified. And that is exactly why the church observes Advent—a season of preparation and pondering the true meaning of Christmas.
However, I was reminded today not to forget the season of Thanksgiving.
While driving to an appointment this morning, I witnessed the immediate aftermath of a terrible automobile accident. If I had not stopped to visit with my daughter, I would have been an eyewitness or possibly involved in the accident myself. First responders had not arrived so citizens were trying to help the injured. My immediate thought was to pray for everyone on site.
My second thought was, “This is not a good day for any of these people.” The man lying on the ground surely never anticipated struggles of this magnitude. The people trying to help him may forever struggle with the memory of what they witnessed.
None of us know what our future holds. And in many ways, that is a blessing. We can enjoy our present moment.
My prayer quickly became, “God, when I lay my head down each night, may I remember to thank you for the gift of another day. May I remember to express my gratitude for the gifts and blessings I’ve received.”
I recalled the story recorded in Luke 17:11-19. Ten men with leprosy met Jesus and asked for Him to take pity on them. They were all miraculously healed but only one of them thanked Jesus and praised God. How often I have resembled the nine who didn’t express gratitude! For example, I ask for safety when I fly but don’t remember to say “thank you” when the plane hits the ground at my destination. I ask for a lot … and take the gifts for granted.
Before I walk into Advent, I want to focus on Thanksgiving. I want to remember all I have been given and express my gratitude and praise to the One who is the giver of all good gifts.
I also asked God to help me be a woman who faces adversity and struggles with a heart of praise. Why? Because I know my God has promised to be with me in those places. I know that He will see me through to the other side…even if that other side is in His heavenly presence. I know that He is always good and is forever working all things for ultimate good. I know the Holy Spirit who lives within me is willing to show me how to be patient, loving, kind, joyful and at peace in every circumstance I encounter.
Yes, I have so much for which to be thankful…in the good times and in the difficult times. May I remember to express my gratitude and praise.
Thought to ponder:
Do I have an attitude of contentment and thankfulness?
How is the evidence of my thankfulness displayed?