Gratitude on Christmas Time

Thursday, December 16, 2021

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

It seems like Christmas arrived with a fury this year. I am always grateful because of the joy it brings. I have a tendency to focus on how busy the month of December can be. School and extracurricular activities. Parties and more parties. Church concerts and such. It is all good and it is all busy. 

While I am grateful for the busyness of the season, I am most grateful for its reason. To put it simply, Jesus. 

I've been praying and telling the kids that if it wasn't for Jesus, none of the activities we have would happen. 

God had a plan from the beginning of time. If you carefully look at the book of Genesis, you can read about the promise of a Savior. The Old Testament is filled with prophecies about the Messiah to come. Coming He did. Arriving in a humble way to lead us to Himself.

Instead of being lost and overwhelmed with my to-do list, I am going to cultivate reflection. How exactly do I plan to do that?

• I can read Biblical texts related to Christmas. There are a million of reading lists but I recommend WORDview's The Christmas Story. Trust me, it is worth following this plan. You will be blessed.

• I will think about what I read. The worst thing that happens to readers is to speed through a passage and not completely digest it. I am determined to think about what I read. You will see how much more you get out of a text when you simply think about what you read. 

• I will talk to others about what I read. I'm sure these talks will mostly happen at my home. I dislike this but most people I see on a regular basis do not have time to hear my thoughts about Biblical texts. My family certainly does. We are all learning and growing. It is a joy to share about what we are learning. 

• I will express my gratitude to God for His indescribable gift. It is easy to feel bad about a lot of stuff during Christmas time. We feel sad because it is part of the season. We feel bad for not being able to afford things. We feel bad because we can afford things and others don't. We feel bad for gaining weight during the season. We feel bad for sticking with our health plans during the holiday. Truly, there isn't a shortage of reasons to feel bad or complain. 2 Cor. 9:15 is part of a passage on giving. The writer is encouraging cheerful giving. Instead of feeling bad, I am going to cultivate contentment. I will also be cheerful in the giving I do. We give of ourselves a lot but especially at Christmas time. Let it be a joyful offering. Gratitude is a gift during Christmas time. Not the "thank you" you are obliged to give. I am speaking about the internal awareness of the undeserving goodness of God. I am speaking about the inner expression for grace undeserved. God has been better to me than I've been to myself. How can I not be grateful? 

I am not sure what type of feelings you are experiencing these days. Feelings were given to us for a reason because God created them. He also gave us resilience. God gave us the ability to choose how we can better show up in the world. We show up with our heads held high because He is the lifter of our head. We look to the hills where our help comes from. Our help comes from the Lord, maker of heavens and the earth.

We were created by a gracious and amazing God who thought about Christmas and who orchestrates all things in the universe. 

You are in good hands because you are in God's hands. Let us think about what Christmas means with depths of gratitude not yet known to those around us.