As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking about how much I love this season we are entering. I love the coziness of the whole thing. The house glowing with Christmas lights and candles. The rush of warmth the house brings when the days get so crisp. The smells that fill up the house with all the baking. The TASTE of all that Christmas baking. The sounds of Christmas music playing everywhere we go. Yes, it fills up my senses, as John Denver would say.
And at the heart of it all, there is such a calm sense of thankfulness. Thankful. I love the peace that comes with being truly, deeply thankful. And here's what I've learned about being thankful.
Sometimes it's a beautiful, warm feeling that overwhelms you. That moment when you first hold a new baby, you ooze with a flood of thankfulness. It takes you over. Sometimes being thankful is not even a choice: it chooses you.
Sometimes, being thankful is a choice. "In everything give thanks...." In everything. In those times when our feelings would want to take over and scream the lie that we have nothing to be thankful for, we need to be the boss of our feelings and speak the truth. There is truly always, in every situation, something to be thankful for. Sometimes it may start out as strained and forceful...being thankful for that breath you just took without even thinking about doing it. But when you take ahold of your thoughts and choose thankfulness, it's amazing what will come bubbling up. Because truly, there are people right now who have no ability to take a breath on their own. There are families standing over bedsides, begging God to breathe life into someone they love. And I just took a breath. Thank you, Lord. I walk without giving a thought to it. Some can't. I can open my eyes and see the faces of the ones I love. Some can't. Obviously, I could go on and on. I have been in some dark moments in my life, and having a posture of thankfulness, even when it was forced, kept me plugged into perspective when I desperately needed it. We can choose. Choose to make that mental list of everything we wish was different, everything we don't have, everything we long for, (Like the Festivus celebration, the "airing of the grievances"!) or choose to make a list of thankfulness. It is obvious which list brings peace.
Being thankful is an attitude of your heart, not just words. It becomes a habit. It becomes ingrained in you, so that your whole outlook is one of thankfulness. With practice, it becomes who you are, not just what you say around a table once a year.
We are entering that time of year when opportunities will abound to make the thankful choice. Traffic getting into the Target parking lot may just draw you into being less than gracious. So when you are sitting in that heavy traffic, be thankful you are sitting in a warm car, and not the one walking. You'll probably wait in a longer line than usual to buy your food. Be thankful you are buying food. The choices are all around us to make.
And say the words. Say "thank you" and mean it. Did you get a hug from someone you love? Look them in the eye and tell them thank you for the hug. When you finally get to the front of the line in a store, look the clerk in the eye and tell them thank you. And mean it. And, for all things, look to the One who gives us this life to be thankful for. We are not promised "easy", but we are promised provision. Look to Him, and tell him "thank you". And mean it.
Colossians 3:15: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...And be thankful."
Okay...ready to be thankful? Need a place to start?? Today through Sunday, from 2 pm to 5 pm, Starbucks is having a "Buy one, get one free" special on all their holiday drinks. Yipee! Have you tried the Caramel Brulee Latte??? Oh, you must. Or the Gingerbread Latte? Or, I suppose you could do the eggnog, if that turns your crank. So grab a friend you are thankful for, and go get a drink together.
What are you thankful for??