It’s the Holidays and Thanksgiving has just past. Which, traditionally, is a time to reflect on things that matter…things like family, friends, values, way we live our lives and start thinking about New Years resolutions. Often it is a time to give thanks as well.
We hear the Psalms speaking about “entering His courts with praise & thanksgiving…” and “giving thanks for His everlasting kindness”. Just the same - Paul’s command to the church to simply “be thankful”. It also seems to be a mark that Jesus looked for. (i.e. the ten lepers). Gratefulness is an appropriate & fitting response to what has been given to us, whether deemed miraculous or not. I sometimes think I would be more grateful if I saw more spectacular “signs” from the Divine. A bit foolish on my part. However, if I’m not grateful for the ordinary things of life, like clean water, friends, safety, a warm bed, a mom, a dad, a brother, food, tough times, good times, my 96 Saturn (which occasionally makes me curse), some rather remarkable friends & supporters, my handicapped friend John (who is one of the most forgiving people I have ever met), and living with in a place where people “get” me.
Gratitude seems to mean something to God. He looks for grateful hearts. A grateful heart produces a humility and authenticity in us that becomes a beautiful aroma synonymous with God’s Kingdom existing not only in our hearts, but also in the planet. Taking time to be thankful blesses God’s heart, brings us perspective, makes us give generously, and pushes us to make an intentional effort serve the poor & needy as a lifestyle. (not make build bigger programs)
Our selfish hearts & society, tell us that more is better. Better houses, cars, occupations, ministries, just insert your own object here. Bigger, better, faster, and economic growth ar the magic words. Yet, the Cross of Christ calls us to simplicity, gratefulness, and love. Jesus started out in things like a stable and a feeding trough, doesn’t get much simpler than that! But that is precisely what makes him Emmanuel. He walked among us!
So as we go thru the season, let’s remember Emmanuel and live grateful lives, in light of that fact that He is with us.