Listen. Then listen again. Listen with your heart. Listen with the expectation that God is speaking a Word to you. It’s a gentle Word telling you how much God loves you. It’s a convicting Word calling you to experience your life differently. It’s a transforming Word enabling you to live in a brand new way. It’s an incarnate Word offering you life that is both abundant and eternal. Yes listen. Then listen again. And listen with the absolute certainty that you are going to hear God’s voice because God is speaking a Word to you.
What do Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday share in common? They try to con you into thinking buying stuff is the heart of Christmas. But what if you were to spend half the time you normally shop with your family? Or give a portion of the money you usually spend to make a difference in the lives of struggling people? Or make a list of things you are thankful for as long as your shopping list? Doing these things won’t change the world – but they may change your Christmas.
It seems trite in so many ways, but uttering two simple words is the only place I know to begin this Thanksgiving Day. And so I do. Thank You.
Thank You for being the God of all creation who loves me as a precious child. Thank You for Your gift of life in all its richness and infinite possibilities. Thank You for Your grace that is more powerful than any force in the universe. Thank You for Your call on my life and how it allows me to share in Your work. And thank You for people to love, those who love me and all the blessings that make my life so comfortable while so many suffer.
There’s one more thing, Lord. And while it also seems trite, I have to say it. May my giving thanks not be limited to just a day, somehow crammed in-between the parades, food and football. Instead, may I give thanks to You with every single breath I take beginning now and lasting throughout eternity.
You see what you’re used to seeing, you’re conditioned to see and you want to see. But God wants to open your eyes so you can see things in brand new ways. The homeless person is a child of God. The person with whom you radically disagree about politics is a sister or brother in faith. And the criminal doing hard time is someone infinitely valuable to God. Take a careful look today so you can see things the way God does. It not only will change your view. It will also change you.
What do you do when there’s something so broken and painful in your life that you’re just not sure how things are going to work out? Be counterintuitive. Give thanks! Give thanks because God is always present with you. Give thanks because God is showering you with grace that actually changes things. And give thanks because God is giving you a new future in an old life. Giving thanks is the right thing to do. It will help you see things in a new way. And it will heal your soul in amazing ways.