The holiday season is full of joy and expectation. You probably can easily see all of the decorations around your own city or town. Easily spot people with more of an upbeat attitude or a grateful heart. But life still goes on, even when these types of festivities start to approach. You probably have had a long year. And you probably can pinpoint certain situations in your life this year that didn’t go very well. I want you to be encouraged because you can find something good and meaningful out of it all.
Don’t allow or continually hold tight to circumstances that happened this year or even a few years ago. It can cloud your heart. Yes, each day is precious. But I do strongly believe that God can teach his daughters lessons through his Word as we head into this extra special time of the year.
This year to me has been a blessing. But I feel like I have learned some valuable lessons on gratitude and thanksgiving. I have always pictured myself as someone who looks at the best in life and is thankful. Recently, I have realized that there is something new to receive and take heed of. I have recently reflected back on this year and my life. Realized that God has been teaching me moments of thankfulness in places that I may not have paid attention to if I didn’t have a trial or a test in front of me. Sometimes, we want things in our lives to be in order. Or we want to be in control of every little thing. Recently, I felt led in my heart to take note of four scriptures that God has impressed on my heart during challenging times.
I remember one particular lesson in dealing with a thankful heart. A few months ago, I was griping with God in my prayer closet about how I felt like nothing was changing. I felt like God wasn’t really answering my prayers. I knew I should have been singing praises like I usually do. But I didn’t want to. I felt cheated. Then I felt God tell me something within my spirit. I started remembering all of the times my mom and I had fun during the holiday season. How I make good memories with my family. Get to see them.
I felt strongly that God was telling me to look beyond what I see and to see that I am alive. To see that some people don’t even have a home. I felt like thousands of great memories started to come to me. Started to realize God has really been keeping me safe and protected. God has blessed me even when I thought he hadn’t. I had to repent to God because, yes, we want all of these wonderful things. But I had to let my pride go and choose to be thankful for what I had already been given.
During the holiday season we usually see our friends and family members we haven’t seen in awhile. We usually hang out or have a tradition. Usually, have fun or play games. We usually bake some nice treats. Talk about great memories. Watch our favorite movies or shows. There are so many traditions that we all do and you can probably think of one you made up with your family. There are also times you can probably remember arguments or frustrations. Maybe things didn’t work out the way you planned. The list can go on. I want you to know that nothing in life is perfect, but you can find something to be thankful from these circumstances.
You may think that if you have the perfect conditions or the perfect setup for your holiday time then life will have no worries. I want you to dig deeper. Know you won’t have the perfect conditions every day or even during holiday seasons.
The following are 4 scriptures below and reflection questions. I pray they will help you navigate this season as you learn the art of thanksgiving in a whole new way. Pray that it will help you examine your heart and see beyond what you see. To look beyond trying to have the perfect holiday or perfect season in your life. Allow God to open your heart and see beyond what is in front of you. See that having a grateful heart can help you have a grateful mindset.
Are you putting what you think you want out of the situations you face over what God knows you need?
And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
When you have situations that aren’t going well, especially during the time of the year where you think things should be full of joy. Remember that God knows what you need. He even knows every detail of every situation. God doesn’t want you to keep scratching your head trying to figure out if things are going to work out. He even cares about you having a wonderful holiday season. God wants you to not mix your needs with His needs. Pray to God to show you what you need to learn and what is important in this season through his eyes.
During this time of the year can you look at your situations and see at least 3 things you can be grateful for?
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
There are so many things to be grateful for. But if you keep looking at what isn’t going right, even the little bitty things you won’t be able to see clearly. Every time God shows you something or uses someone to bless you, you won’t be able to see the blessing behind it. Even when you feel like you are struggling or dealing with traumatic events. You can write down or voice out to the Lord about what you are thankful for and it will ease your heart. It will ease tension within your soul and you will sense the Lord’s peace upon you. Look around and sing praises, even when you don’t feel like it. Make your environment full of God. You will start seeing God take hold of the great moments and blessings that are in your life. Look at what is in front of you and look deeper.
Can you think of one great time in your life where God came through in such a beautiful powerful way? Can you think of one moment like this that happened recently that you can be grateful for?
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever. –Psalm 136:2
God has helped you in so many ways. Even in ways that he hasn’t even revealed to you yet. How powerful He is and how merciful. You probably can think of the times God has come through for you and you will never forget it. God must get praises from us no matter what. During times of difficulty and even times that are the most loving. God wants to grow you and not make everything easy. He wants to show you how awesome He is during every single season of your life.
Who have you told lately about God’s goodness in your life? Have you shared your testimony and what the Lord has done for you?
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works. –Psalm 9:1
You probably can go on and on about the Lord. But someone needs to hear what God has done for you. He will give you the courage to share. Someone needs encouragement and you can provide it for them. When you share what God has done in your life with other people you will be lifted as well.