VERSES | NOV 23, 2022

Ending your Year with Gratitude

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Rachel Rupert

If your year was anything like mine, then maybe you can’t believe it’s already almost over. When I’m not working for CSN, I’m balancing life with a preschooler and toddler - and though I thoroughly enjoy this season of life, it’s busy. Most evenings feel like I just endured a grueling marathon as I fall onto the couch after the kids’ bedroom door closes. It’s rare for me to go to bed with a clean house unmarked by abandoned toys and crayons. It’s even rarer to find an empty washer and dryer. We’re constantly moving from one obligation to another: whether it’s ballet, preschool, or whatever volunteer position I optimistically committed to at my daughter’s school.

With all of the obligations that come with life, it’s easy to get lost in the busy schedule of the day and to look forward to the next goal or check mark that you can cross off of your list. But as we enter the end of the year, I’m reminded of what the upcoming holidays represent, and I don’t want to miss reflecting on the purpose of our festivities.

THANKSGIVING WAS ROOTED IN GRATITUDE TO GOD

Thanksgiving isn’t a Christian holiday, but the way it started is something we can all agree is worthwhile. Thanksgiving from the very beginning has been an opportunity to reflect on God’s goodness and provision over the year. The very first Thanksgiving in 1621 was a gathering of the pilgrims (or a better word, survivors) that journeyed to the New World, in celebration of their first successful harvest, thanks to the help of the Native Americans. What we often fail to mention in this story is that only half of the pilgrims even made it to spring, and those that did survive were sick and malnourished after a harsh winter.

THEY HAD BEEN THROUGH A GRUELING YEAR AND YET THEIR RESPONSE WAS GRATITUDE.

When we’re so caught up in all of the things we feel we have to do, it’s easy to lose sight of the perspective of gratitude. It’s ironic to me that sometimes as American Christians, we can take verses like Philippians 4:11-13 so greatly out of context:

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Here I am Lord, struggling with rolling out of my king-size bed to the already heated coffee pot, with the agonizing task of driving my child to school! Yet as Paul wrote this, and many other verses that encourage us along our Christian walk, he was imprisoned. He had suffered persecution, beatings, shipwrecks, and chains. My struggles are inconsequential compared with what so many other people have faced and continue to face each day. We have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes our focus can be misguided.

AS WE CLOSE OUT THIS YEAR, DON’T FORGET TO TAKE TIME TO BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT GOD HAS DONE

My daughter and I love to listen to music together on the morning drive to school, and one of our favorites is the song “I’m So Blessed” by CAIN. I love the lyrics that say, *I’m so blessed, I’m so blessed, Got this heartbeat in my chest. No, it doesn’t matter about the rest, if I got you, Lord, I’m so blessed. *

Life itself is a gift, and our relationship with God sustains us through all of the ups and downs that life may throw our way. Whether it’s been a great year or an extremely difficult one, God got you through it. That in itself is something so worthy of our gratitude, that we have a God who walks alongside us on our best days, and on our worst.

As you’re gathering together with family and extended family, rushing to school parties, or baking an absurd amount of Thanksgiving pies, don’t get caught up in the obligations and the busyness of the season and miss the reason behind it all. Remember this is our opportunity to end the year with gratitude for all the things God has done, and how he’s remained faithful and present through every day and moment of our lives.

image used with permission

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