During this holiday season when we reflect on everything God has placed in our lives, we have the unique opportunity to place emphasis on giving thanks. Believing in God allows us to be thankful when things go well and patient when things go against us. It is crucial at the times when things are going against us to thank God for granting us the learning experience he has placed in front of us. Sometimes at the moment, it is hard to see God’s greater plan for you and to trust in him. Remaining patient during times of adversity allows us to completely retain the lesson that God is trying to teach us. Paul sums things up this way. He says it is God’s will for us to be thankful “in all circumstances.” Well, it may help to note that Paul is not saying we should be thankful for all circumstances, but in them. When things seem to go against us, God expects us to be grateful that his hand holds us and helps us to endure under the strain. That’s a big challenge – to look for reasons to be thankful when the going is tough. Sometimes it can be equally difficult for us to be thankful when things are going well. The very nature of human beings, even if we are Christian, is to overlook the crowd of God’s good gifts to us every day. Here’s a great exercise you can do today: sit still where you are and exercise the gift of noticing. Notice what you see, what you have, and who is with you. Notice the color, beauty, and variety around you. Keep noticing and make a list of the gifts you notice. Then give thanks to God, the great giver!
Today we thank you God for everything you have placed in our lives. We thank you for the good and the bad. We thank you for allowing us to be patient through the bad in our life so that we may learn what it is you want us to learn from the situation. We ask that today you give us the great gift of being able to notice all of your gifts. Open our hearts to a spirit of thanksgiving we pray. Amen.