“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” –L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I heard a story of a man who lost his daughter from an illness when she was just 16 years old. She was his little girl that he held the day she was born. Her smile would make his heart flutter. She would laugh at his silly jokes. She was gone. He didn’t get to see her get her license and drive away towards her freedom. He didn’t get to see her graduate high school and help her choose a college. He would never get to walk her down the aisle and feel the pride of giving her away to her husband. Tragic. Understandably, he was in the throws of depression and grief. Everyday was difficult for him to make sense of how she was gone. Thankfully, he was a man of God, and sought guidance from his pastor. When his pastor met with him, he asked him one question that changed the man’s life forever. He asked the man, “If you would’ve known that your daughter would only live 16 years, would you have rather not had her and not have the grief, or was she worth the grief that you are feeling now?” The man knew exactly what the pastor was saying. We are not guaranteed anything in this life, and we don’t know how long the people we love are going to be with us. The man looked at his pastor, and said, “I’d rather have 16 years with her than any without her.” And, in that instant, gratefulness filled the man’s heart. He didn’t deserve anything, but he got the most precious daughter for 16 years, and he wouldn’t trade it for the world…even knowing he would face so much grief in the end of her life.
Gratitude is an amazing emotion. It can be used in so many ways. It can turn a tragedy into something meaningful. It can bring healthy perspective, and it can truly show the depth of the human heart.
We call this time of year the season of gratitude. And, it’s true. This time of year does make us reflect on gratefulness. We surround ourselves with family and friends that we may not see too often. We travel and participate in yearly traditions. We stay up late talking and catching up. It really is a time to just allow the gratitude to swim all over us.
But, why do we wait until now? Why do we wait to focus on gifts that the Lord gives us all year just this time of year? Gratitude has such power, and we aren’t allowing ourselves to be cradled in our Heavenly Father’s arms, and rest easy that He has given us all the provision that we need. He doesn’t wait until Thanksgiving to do that, He does it daily. But, we neglect to see it as often as we do this time of the year.
Allow yourself to feel gratitude all year long. It’s not meant to be a season.
If you are having a difficult time finding even the small things to be grateful for, you may need to start at the beginning. You have breath in your lungs, and you are meant to be here. Life may have been difficult for you. You may have many scars. But, you are here. You survived. You see, you have an amazing Savior that chose to die for you because He loved you. That’s it. You were worth His sacrifice. He loved you so much, not because of anything you did, but because of who you are. He died to give you life eternal. That’s really the greatest love that there is. You now have hope and expectation. You now have purpose and meaning. It doesn’t matter about your past, or your future. You are free in Christ. It’s truly just a gift. That’s something to be grateful for everyday.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18