When I was eight years old, I recall creating a lengthy Christmas list for “Santa.” I remember requesting several items, some bigger than others, such as New Kids on the Block bed sheets, a pink bike, a new pair of skates and a pony. The pony was obviously an ambitious request, but I figured I would go for it. Oh, to be eight again. Anyway, as I have gotten older, my Christmas list has dwindled. These days, I enjoy a nice meal with my family, and I would much rather bring a smile to my kids’ faces instead of creating an insanely long list for myself. Sure, presents are fun to open and the element of surprise is nice, too, but my focus and my heart are rooted far deeper than the bottom of a wrapped gift. This year, I have decided to create a new tradition for my family, myself included. This Christmas season, we will be making a list of thanks.
The truth is, I have realized that I do not give thanks nearly as often as I should. I wake up with breath in my lungs, a roof over my head and clothes on my back, yet my first thought is often a grumble for coffee or the need to make a mad dash to get my daughter ready for school. My heart is truly filled with gratitude, but if I do not share my gratitude and express my thanks through prayer, quiet time or worship, I am consciously placing God on the backburner whereas he should be front and center, aflame in my life at all times.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.” —1 Thessalonians 5:18
As believers, we must regularly evaluate our commitment to God. If we choose to overlook God’s blessings and take His goodness for granted, our ingratitude will further separate us from His light and our purpose which is to glorify His name.
With that said, when is the last time you made a list, verbal or written, to simply share your thanks for our Lord Jesus Christ? When is the last time you thanked God for the forgiveness of your sins? When is the last time you thanked God for your loved ones? If you can’t remember the last time you gave thanks, take a moment to thank Him for dying for your sins so that you may have these moments of self-reflection and change.
This year, I have decided to create a new tradition for my family, myself included. This Christmas season, we will be making a list of thanks.
The same way you thank your spouse, your co-worker or your best friend for gifting you a special Christmas present or the natural, thankful reaction you share when someone holds a door open for you are the ways we must treat our heavenly Father. We must give thanks and acknowledge His presence in our lives. We must thank Him for being near. We must thank Him for all He has done and continues to do.
We all want to be appreciated, and God is no different. Before you make a list and check it twice, make sure your day starts and ends with the ultimate gift–our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” —2 Corinthians 4:15