Here we are again, another Thanksgiving in the books and our journey to Christmas has begun. For most of us, this season brings a lot chaos. There is far too much to do and get done and far too few hours to do it in. We rush from one thing to the next, one store to the next, one house to the next to try to create the perfect peaceful holiday. I am laughing as I typed that, because most of us are thinking, there is nothing peaceful about the holiday season. Why is that, is it maybe because we are trying to find peace someplace that it can not be found? Is it because we have lost sight of where true hope is really found?
My life has been in a very hard place as of late. It has taken a toll on me and I have felt far too tired and far too weary. There are some very difficult things in my life that are very trying, very hurtful, very much beyond my control, and nothing that is going away anytime soon without a miraculous touch from God. So as thanksgiving was approaching, I decided to focus my devotion time on being thankful. I sought out a couple of good Thanksgiving devotions and prayed for God to help me see what He wanted me to see.
Like many of us, especially as mothers, and even more so as single moms, our days start with awaking in a frantic panic of what the day expects of us. I usually immediately pray when that starts to happen. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but as I read through the first of my Thanksgiving devotions, the author, Sue Boldt, started with a challenge. To surrender, to give ourselves to Jesus, to place ourselves in the loving arms of our savior where life is truly found. She challenged to put everything else aside, to focus solely on Jesus, worshipping and thanking him before we did anything else. What would our day look like if the first words out of our mouth each morning were words of praise and thanksgiving and gratitude to our savior? What would happen if instead of awaking and crying out Jesus help me followed by a laundry list of things we need him to do today, we took a minute to come into his presence with gratefulness for who he is and what he has done. Psalm 100:4 tells us
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
What if we did just that, entered into his courts with praise and dancing and singing instead of just dragging in our bags of problems.
As Sue put it in the devotion “Even when life has its darkest tragedies and trials, what might out lives be like if we worshipped at His footstool because His compassion never fails and His mercies are new every morning? “ -Sue Boldt A Week Full of Thanksgiving-Youversion
As this week of devotions went on Sue highlighted how gratitude and praise changes our perspective. It puts us in a position to hear from God, to see him work and move in our hearts. Surrendering our lives to Jesus means letting go and trusting His handling of both the big and small details of our lives. Gratefulness can be the gauge by which we see where we are at. Someone once said that worry is believe that God won’t get it right. When we begin to move past trying to control everything ourselves, when we move to gratitude, we can then clearly see who God is. We can clearly see his love for us and we will know that He NEVER gets it wrong. One of the things I loved most that was said in this devotion was this:
“Gratefulness for who God is and all He has done for us can interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves in light of our current situation.” Sue Boldt
I don’t know about you, but far too often when I am going through a really tough time or in a situation that is “long-suffering” my focus tends to become far too inward. It is hard to see past my problems. However, refusing to worry, choosing to start our day with praise and worship even when maybe we don’t feel like it, brings us to the feet of Jesus. When we begin to think of what he has done for us and who he is we can’t help but feeling totally grateful and totally unworthy of his love. We see the beauty of Christ in a way that shines brightly and leaves all those troubles in the shadows.
As I began this devotion, I challenged myself to awake every morning and spend time praising Him and thanking Him for who He is and for all he has done for me. I spent time rehearsing his goodness before I did anything else. As I went through the day and things got tough, I would try to return to that place. Sometimes it meant walking outside to get away from things around me, sometimes, I still allowed the things in my life to overwhelm me, but I pushed on with the help of the Holy Spirit carrying me through. As I looked back over the week before Thanksgiving I noticed a difference. While nothing in my current situation changed, I noticed I had felt more peace than I had in a long time.
Now as thanksgiving is over, I can see what a blessing this time has been. I learned so much and in the end against all odds and in spite of my trials and struggles, I had a wonderful thanksgiving and saw God move in a way that I would not have imagined possible as the week began.
Now the challenge continues, as we head into the Christmas season, what if instead of running from one thing to the next, instead of trying to “make” the perfect Christmas we just stopped. What if we just took time to sit at his feet in worship? What if we remembered that peace is a person and his name is Jesus? Might our focus on the true hope of the world in the midst of chaos bring us the peace we so desperately long for? This holiday season, lets do just that, let’s make spending time at the feet of Jesus a priority. Let’s praise him in gratefulness for the greatest gift we were ever given. Let’s put aside everything else and focus on who we really celebrate at Christmas, Jesus. Then and only then will we find true peace.
“What if we remembered that peace is a person and his name is Jesus?” ❤️
Hugs! Thank you for sharing how God has been speaking to you and moving in your life. Your story really touched and encouraged me!
I’m so glad it encouraged you!