Ah, December…the month that not only requires us to be at the top of our game in work as well as social preparations but also closes out the year, asking us to reflect on what we’ve accomplished or where we’ve fallen short the past 11 months.
And yet, amidst this bustle and busy-ness, the beauty of Christmas can get away from us. Gratitude seems to be one of those things we begin with in the Christmas season, but somehow, there’s tension between our desire to be grateful to God for the greatest gift we could ever receive and the to-do list that presses so urgently.
And this is exactly where God meets us--just as he met Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother. In a stable. After her pregnancy, betrothal, travelling, and more that she surely didn’t expect, she found herself surrounded by strangers who were honoring her newborn. God was present through it that. Gospel author Luke tells us, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
In what must have been a chaotic scene, she took a breath, a moment here and there, to see God’s hand and to treasure all that was happening. Not just the Instagram worthy “wrapped up with a bow” experiences--she treasured all of them.
This season, rather than huge gestures of gratitude, consider the everyday moments where you can thank God for the reason for your busy-ness. Rather than letting the enemy take advantage of your distraction, worry, and stress, give these moments back to God by your praise and gratitude. Take a breath to recognize whatever is in front of you as pieces that fit together into God’s great plan.
Approaching Christmas, take time to see and honor God in all the moments.
Lord, when our to-do lists threaten to draw us away from the gift that you give, prompt us to take a breath and store up in our hearts the treasures that come in unexpected packages. Let our gratitude be what draws us closer to you today and through this month.
- What kinds of things around your workplace or campus are you grateful for this year? What can you look at in a new way?
- Who in your work days or your nursing program helps you see gratitude in action? What is it about that colleague or student that brings them to mind?
- As you reflect on the past few days, where have you seen God’s hand in unexpected ways? Consider writing down one or more things each day this month that you’re grateful for.