With a Grateful Heart

This year my Instagram feed has been flooded with pictures of people’s Christmas decorations, stores look like the North Pole threw up, and every where I turn, Christmas is right in front of my face. It seems like this is more the case this year than any year I can remember previously.

Guys, I’m really struggling with that. 

Today is November 15. Thanksgiving is one week from today. On social media and in real life there is this half-joking, half-not battle between the holly jolly Christmas enthusiasts who want to decorate the second Halloween is over (if they wait that long) and have Christmas music playing and the crotchety, Scrooge-like, you-kids-get-off-my-lawn types who insist on leaving Christmas alone until after Thanksgiving and get irritated that Black Friday sales start on Thanksgiving day. I’m throwing in with the latter group, actually. November 23? Oh, y’all will be hard pressed to distinguish between me and Buddy the Elf. Until then, however, I just can’t.

For me the issue isn’t a lack of “Christmas spirit” or whatever else. It is simply this: I see all of this early Christmas excitement as symptomatic of a society that has forsaken gratitude in favor of avarice and it breaks my heart.

I am not naive enough to think that this is a new phenomenon. The “I want, I want, I want” has long overruled the “Thank you for…” mindset. Christmas, which is meant to be a celebration of the arrival of the Greatest Gift we’ve ever been given, is a time to get more stuff. Let’s be honest, our human sin nature is always going to choose that over gratitude. It comes down to a heart issue. Are we as a society truly giving thanks for what we have been given with a heart of gratitude and cultivating a spirit of contentment or are we seeking fulfillment in more, more, more?

Please don’t hear me saying Christmas is evil or you shouldn’t be giving presents, incorporating Santa, etc. That’s not it at all. I am also not saying that if you decorate for Christmas early you are a materialistic ingrate or that enjoying Christmas and all its shiny, twinkly fun is sinful. I’m not attacking individuals who are all set for Christmas or demanding we boycott stores who are already marketing Christmas (because seriously, we’d starve). What I am saying is this: Let’s allow ourselves to take time to celebrate the things we’re thankful for. Let’s cultivate in ourselves and our children a heart of thankfulness. Let’s allow ourselves the reminder of a holiday devoted to gratitude. I don’t know about you, but I need any reminder I can get.

Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

Henry Smith

Much love!

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