Countdown to Christmas – A grateful heart

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

I had an emotional week. For some reason, my response to little difficulties was way out of proportion. Does this happen to you too?

During my time of prayer, I asked God to restore to me the joy of his salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12 NIV)

God is so good. He did just what I asked of him. As I considered the joy of his salvation, my mind flooded with memories of how the Lord loved me into his kingdom.

How he allowed difficult circumstances in my life which caused me to cry out to him; sent believing friends into my life who introduced me to the person of Jesus; opened my ears to the gospel freeing me from the pain, guilt, and judgement oppressing my spirit.

I see God’s kindness – and my response is gratitude.

Gratitude has a way of changing our perspective. It redirects our attention so we can see God.

Can you imagine what it must’ve been like for Mary?

I know Mary was not superhuman, so I can imagine she responded emotionally to the challenges she faced. But with each kick of the infant inside her, Mary must’ve recalled the words of the angel – “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Luke 1:31-32 NIV

And the words of Elizabeth – “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:42-45 NIV

She could look back on the dreams God gave Joseph, who was by her side protecting and watching over her and her baby. I’m sure God redirected her emotions, like he does ours, turning her fear to faith.

As we prepare for Christmas this year, let’s remember the works of God in our lives, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

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