As we journey forward together as a church body celebrating all that has been provided in the past, living daily in the midst of the many changes in the present, while eagerly anticipating all of what is to come in the future…how will we travel?
Will we walk each day in a spirit of gratitude? We might be tempted to answer this question with a resounding yes! Of course we will praise the Lord in thankfulness. But that response would mean that we have the ability to make a decision in the matter. I believe gratitude is not an intellectual choice; rather it comes entirely from the heart.
How do we truly arrive at a genuine thankfulness no matter the circumstance? I find there is one decision I can make, one choice I do have control over; it is to take time to be in the Lord’s presence where I give permission to the Holy Spirit to speak and where I elect to listen. It is in these moments, when I lay bare before our great and mighty God, that the Lord reveals who I really am and in contrast, who He really is. He is the God who “determines the number of the stars and calls each by name. He covers the sky with clouds. He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.”
In light of this revelation I discover afresh that I am a sinner. I am the brokenhearted of whom the scriptures speak, the one whose wounds can only be bound up by the living God. I am nothing and He is everything. It is here, where the honesty of my humanity sits exposed before me, that I truly experience the revelation of God’s grace and mercy and love, and therein a seed of gratitude is planted in the depth of my soul. It begins to well up inside me to a place where I am no longer satisfied with a routine “thank you Lord.” No, I find I want to stand on the mountaintops and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ! He is my Lord, my savior and He calls me friend.
So how will you travel? Will your heart respond in gratitude as Elizabeth’s did?
“The Lord has done this for me. ” Or like Mary? “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”
Let us celebrate His precious birth together, journeying through each day’s triumphs and struggles as one body in Christ:
“Lord, we are thankful for the blessings you bestow upon us, whether they come wrapped in the pleasant packages we enjoy, or whether they come in the form of trials and tribulations that we must overcome in your strength alone. Jesus, thank you for the body you have put together in this church. Help us to accept one another as you have accepted us, that you might be praised! And God, our Father in heaven, who gives endurance and encouragement, give us a spirit of unity as we follow you so that with one heart and mouth you may be glorified.”
- Rina Carbol