It’s a month buzzing with excitement at the start of the Holiday season.
It is a month of crisp air and fallen leaves, short days and cozy sweaters.
It’s a month where we take the time to be grateful. A month where we celebrate giving thanks. As we inch closer and closer to Thanksgiving, I began to chew over that word : Gratitude. What does gratitude mean? What does it look like to be truly grateful? As I began to mull this over in my mind, I heard God whisper another word to me that goes hand in hand with gratitude. Well, not so much a whisper as the longing whine of my four year old. It came, as it often does, through an exchange with one of my children.
I had just finished giving my younger two a bath, a task I had once thought would be easy. My three year old had already run off to get into mischief play, his energy expounded after the wrestling match that had ensued to get him dry and into pajamas. I was attempting to get my daughter’s foot into those footie pj’s, the ones that require a perfectly still or cooperative child. She was chattering on about how much she loves unicorns and ponies, asking me if they were my favorite things, too. Suddenly, a small pout came over her face and I wasn’t too surprised at her change in demeanor, it seems to be the norm for four year old girls. (Right?!) I asked her what was wrong and she replied in a genuinely sad huff, “I just wish I had unicorn pajamas.” I tried not to laugh as she crossed her little arms, a wrinkle appearing on her forehead as she frowned.
She had recently seen a pair of unicorn pajamas on one of our rare trips to Target and had begged me to buy them for her. I gave her the usual spiel, “We can’t buy everything we see. There will always be something we want, but we need to be thankful for what we already have. Remember your pj’s with the sparkly silver hearts that you love?” And that’s when it hit me. Contentment. True gratitude comes with contentment. Or maybe true contentment comes with gratitude. Either way, I can see how they are interwoven – can you really have one without the other?
When we are truly content, gratitude at new blessings oozes out. We can’t help but be excited, and grateful. Thanksgiving is quickly followed by a season of more, a season of giving, yes, but a season where we want more. We need more. If only we had that one thing, our lives would be so much better. But, it’s a fluke, isn’t it? It never works. There is nothing, not one thing, that can bring us true satisfaction. True contentment. True gratitude. Not the ideal job. Not a thinner body. Not soft unicorn pajamas. Nothing, except for Jesus Christ.
But how, how, do we come to a place of contentment? A place of being truly grateful for what we already have? The scriptures are so rich with answers, dear friends! Just this morning I read this :
Psalm 119 : 36 – 37 (emphasize mine)
Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!
Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your Word.
God’s Word gives us life! All we need to be content, to be grateful, is to spend time with Him. To dig into His rich word. Verse 3 of that same Psalm says ‘Joyful are those who obey His laws, who search for Him with all their hearts.’
See, when we’re focused on the things we don’t have, we miss an opportunity to see what we do have. That’s not to say we can’t want things, we must be careful where our hearts take us in those moments.
I encourage you to take a moment to count your blessings today, to see what you have through the lens of Christ. Ask Him to help change your heart, your eyes. Then you can celebrate this season with a true heart of gratitude, and contentment – the true gratitude and contentment that only comes from God.