We move so quickly from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We move from Gratitude to Giving and Getting. The pace quickens and before we know it we are tired, disheartened, overwhelmed.
This past year my word for the year was “Peace”. I wanted to experience peace. Not just a quiet or a calm, but peace of mind. You know I struggle with the worry beast, and it robs me of peace. So this past year I focused on peace, filling my mind with that which would encourage peace. A HUGE part of that has been developing the practice of gratitude. As I have sought to name the thankfulness and keep the lists, I have come to realize that it is in the seeking gratitude that life changes and peace comes. Seeking gratitude requires presence, alertness and stillness. It requires I lean into God when I do not understand or can not find that for which to be thankful. As I open myself up to the practice of gratitude I find myself practicing hospitality, opening my heart, my mind, my time, my home, my life to others. The deepest connection, the deepest gratitude has come as together friend or acquaintance and I seek Him in the darkest moments. Holding the hand of my friend’s stillborn daughter and taking in her tiny features, her precious face. Wrapping arms around the woman so lonely she wasn’t living, yet brave enough to seek out encouragement and finding new strength, new love, new hope.
Our Savior came in darkness, to world too full, too busy for Him. His life was short, and full of darkness, pain and suffering. Yet He came bringing Peace. He came to give His all that we might be saved.
This Christmas I carry on the gratitude. I don’t want to forget those holy moments with friends and family when hurt turned to joy, when peace came over us in the midst of the storm. I want to be grateful, not just in word, but in the way I live. I want my gratitude to continue to lead me to hospitality, to relationships deep and true. I want Christ to know my “thank you” is not enough, but my life for Him is.
Peace. I experience it daily when I practice gratitude-being alert, present and still. This Christmas Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Man.