Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thanks and thanks again

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

TO CHEW ON: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Paul's little list of to-do items would make more sense to me if it was inverted: in everything give thanks + pray without ceasing = rejoice always.

Thankfulness in everything is a choice. It's easy to be thankful for the little and big blessings that keep appearing throughout our day: a morning carafe of coffee, a hot shower, electricity and a functioning computer, a drawerful of pens... But the things that aren't good on the outside: a morning headache, a sick child, a snowstorm on the day of the outing. How can we be thankful for these?

Two lines of thought come to mind.
1. We can usually find something in the situation to be thankful for. My morning headaches get me out of bed early. They usually dissipate with my first coffee. When kids are sick we can be thankful for doctors and medical help. The day's plans wrecked by weather may lead to a set of new ones with their own reasons for thanksgiving.

2. Our intentional thanks, even when we don't understand, confirms, expresses, and grows our faith in the goodness of God who has allowed this circumstance to touch us.

Pray without ceasing is what we do as we continually think, whisper, say out loud, even sing our thanks to God.

Rejoice always is the natural result, in our attitude and emotions, of such determined thanksgiving.

Need help with this? Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is a powerful apologetic for thankful living. But you don't have to wait until you have it in hand to be thankful. Begin taking note of things for which you're thankful today. One way is to keep a gratitude journal. Here's a mini-journal to make that will get you started (with instructions for assembly here).

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this reminder to be thankful always. Help me to do this as I face the highs and lows of this day. Amen.

MORE: Only 17 more sleeps

Advent Calendar - December 8

Christmas Fact:

The poinsettia was originally cultivated in Mexico. The leaves that crown the end of each poinsettia stalk undergo a seasonal color change in December, turning from green to red. As Christianity spread across Mexico during the colonial era, this color change turned poinsettias into a popular Christmas decoration. The Mexicans call the plant flor de la Nochebuena or "Christmas Eve flower".

Encyclopedia of Christmas p. 474

Visit the Poinsettia Pages to learn more about this popular Christmas plant.

Bible Drive-Thru

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