Dear Friends in Christ,
Happy New Year! (At least I hope it is a happy one for you as you read this.) I always get a rush of excitement with the coming of a new year. I may not always be happy, mind you, but there is something about the new year that invites a fresh outlook on things, while also reminding us of our mortality. It is really a strange juxtaposition, when you look at it that way, isn’t it? The truth is we only have so much time on this earth, and the new year is a natural juncture at which we can take stock in our lives. How are we doing with the time we’ve been given by God?
As we enter 2019 and take stock in our wellbeing, and perhaps make some resolutions for the months to come, I’d like to offer a resolution possibility to you: Be Grateful! I know it isn’t as exciting as making a commitment to eating better, organizing your home, or losing weight, but being grateful will have a profoundly greater impact on your life than any of those other goals. It is also quite biblical. Take a look at this passage in Colossians 3:15-17:
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Notice the overwhelming presence of gratitude and thanksgiving, and how integral they are to a life in Christ? Can you imagine a life in Christ devoid of gratefulness and thankfulness? It is just not possible. At the same time, gratitude doesn’t always come easy to us. The good news is that we can be grateful, even if it isn’t always a natural inclination. Here are some practical ways you can increase your gratitude (and grow in faith):
· Count your blessings. I know people who start and end each day by making a list of three (or more) new things they are grateful for. It can be as simple as being able to breath, or as specific as meeting with a certain person.
· End your day with a prayer of gratitude. Beginning with something you’re grateful for that starts with the letter ‘A,’ work your way through the alphabet.
· Share the feeling. Tell others what you’re grateful for. If you are grateful for them, say so! Gratitude is contagious, so make sure to pass it along.
· Keep a gratitude journal. Note how your newfound attitude of gratitude is making a difference in your life—on bad days and on good ones.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but I hope it will spark an interest in you to make gratitude a (bigger) part of your life. As part of my own commitment to gratitude, I want to say how grateful I am for you and for the opportunity to be your pastor.
Praise be to God!