Fall is officially underway. The leaves are changing, the apples are ready to be picked, and wait a minute, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner! With the holiday’s looming closer, and the holiday season starting earlier every year, it is important to discuss gratitude.
Consumerism and materialism are on full blast during the holiday season. You are told you need to buy decorations for every season, gifts for Christmas, you name it. Modern day America will point to the “isms” as the heart of the holiday season, but isn’t gratitude supposed to be at the center?
The practice of gratitude is something that I have implemented in my life over the past few years. Every morning following my Bible reading, I write down three things I am thankful for. They can be as mundane as the pen and journal I use in the morning, or they could be notes of thanksgivings for my friends and family. The list ranges dramatically.
I have found this attitude of gratitude to be very beneficial for my life. I make an effort to look for the little joys around me, even amidst trying circumstances. Even today, thinking about the devastating effects of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Florida, I am reminded to be grateful for a shelter from the rain and food on my table.
Throughout scripture, there are many references to gratitude and living a life of thanksgiving to God. One that stands out to me is Psalm 100. Verse four states, “enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” Additionally, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it states to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Living with a grateful heart is an important Christian principle. Living gratefully also helps us to be in constant communication with God.
As a result of my efforts at pursuing an attitude of gratitude, I have noticed that I am happier and more content. Surrounding me on all sides are things to be grateful for and I find myself singing God’s praises more often than I used to.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is essential throughout the year but is perhaps even more necessary during the holiday season. To truly celebrate the fall season, harvest, Thanksgiving, and the birth of Christ, we need to practice gratitude. By starting now, you can fight against the pressure from the world to look to the “isms” during the fall and holiday season. Instead, you can give thanks to God who sustains us and make him the center of your life through the act of gratitude.
So how can you start? My challenge to you is to start a gratitude journal. Either during your individual prayer time, around the dinner table, or even in the comments under this blog post. What are three things you are grateful for today? How do you plan to cultivate an attitude of gratitude?