“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton
Christmas is a season that brings many emotions to the surface, whether it be joy or heartache. Whatever those emotions may be, we find ourselves in a social bizarre of shopping, eating, and merriment.
(Yes, I did just use the word “merriment”. Judge me.)
As a follower of Jesus, there’s the aspect of celebration – the reverence for the coming of Emmanuel. Songs are sung, words are spoken, and ugly sweaters are worn with no shame whatsoever.
Yet, in the midst of it all, how many of us can say that gratitude is on our minds during this time of the year? I mean, Thanksgiving is over, right? We’ve done that. Now it’s time to celebrate, feast, and revel in merriment (there’s that word again. I’m on fire!) We treat gratitude with such disdain, as if it does not belong in every moment of our lives. Yet, what if we’re missing out on one of the greatest gifts to the human heart?
- Celebrate the birth of Jesus ✓
- Buy gifts for the family ✓
- Wish people “Merry Christmas”, not “Happy Holidays” to stick it to the man ✓
- Decorate ✓
- Jam out to your favorite Christmas tunes ✓
- Attend the annual Christmas church service ✓
- Watch your favorite Christmas movies ✓
- Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat ✓ (by the way, I should mention that this is a sin called “gluttony”)
We can go down our list, yet the one thing we often neglect is a grateful and humble heart.
How many of us truly dwell in gratitude, knowing that “getting” and “celebrating” aren’t the point of this whole Christmas thing? Do we not get so caught up in the festival that we forget the heart behind it?
So…Why did I say that gratitude was a “gift”? I’m glad you asked. Have you ever noticed that greed, selfishness, and thirst leave you feeling void, empty, and desperate? Well, have you ever considered what the opposite of those attitudes will produce?
From the heart of gratitude we are filled with peace, grace, humility, love, and generosity.
What about you this Christmas? Would you be willing to invite gratitude to the table of your festival and celebration? Are you open to accepting one of the greatest gifts from God – the gift of gratitude?
As for me, I’m grateful that God would step into time and space, wrapping Himself with human flesh and bone. I’m grateful that he walked with us, taught us, and died to give us life. He deserves the greatest expression of gratitude that my soul can proclaim!