“Suppose for a moment that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks. Which of our limbs and faculties would be left? Would I still have my hands and my mind? And what about loved ones? If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not given thanks, who or what would be left of me?” -Patrick Henry Reardon
These words made me pause with a sinking feeling in my gut. When was the last time I thanked God for my arm? I want it, I need it, but do I even take time to thank God for keeping it healthy and attached to my body? Not so much. What about my legs? Or my eyelashes? The list could go on and on.
Thankfully, God isn’t vindictive. He doesn’t keep record of what he gave you last Christmas and whether or not you sent up a timely thank you note.
No. He loves us. He delights in us. He gets a kick out of spoiling us just like we often enjoy spoiling others in our lives. He never asks for anything in return.
The gratitude we need to feel isn’t for His sake, it’s for our own. We function better when, instead of looking around and seeing what we don’t have, we can see all that we’ve been given.
That’s probably even more important in times when we are bombarded with “Christmas Commercialism” — that constant stream of ads saying, Don’t you want this? Don’t you need this? What if someone else gets it and you don’t?
That’s why I’m anchoring myself to gratitude with this week’s memory verse: “… A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” John 3:27 (NLV)
Regardless of what’s under the tree, who wishes you a Merry Christmas or how your feast turns out, everything we have, every single good thing in our lives is a gift directly from God. And that should make us feel awe-fully special this holiday season.