Typically, I love the holidays…the food, the decorations, the events, the food, the music, the shopping…and did I mention, the food?
But this year has been different. Instead of hours of baking and shopping, I realize I’ll spend my limited energy keeping up with my family and regular routines. Instead of mental lists of “to dos” and “to buys,” I find myself wondering and worrying about the next treatment, scan or doctor appointment. It just doesn’t seem fair that, because of chemotherapy treatments, my time and energy (both physical and mental) are limited this year. Honestly, it had me in a bit of a funk a couple of weeks ago.
Then, as if God was trying to get my attention (ahem), I heard a sermon last week on…JOY.
The pastor made the statement, “Joy is not dependent on what happens to us or around us. It is a result of what has happened in us.” He went on to add, “Because the Holy Spirit is in you [as Christians], what happens around you, can’t take [joy] from you.”
So that was it: My thanks is not dependent on my circumstances, my circumstances (or at least my outlook on them….my joy) is dependent on my thankfulness.
So, despite my circumstances I am choosing to be thankful:
- Because God loves me and has given me life. (John 10:10).
- For my amazing husband who keeps me grounded, and at the same time, helps me soar.
- For my beautiful, smart, creative, hilarious children.
- For extended family who love us unconditionally.
- For friends who have become family
- For a church family with whom to grow in our faith and be encouraged.
- For a house, neighborhood, and community that are more than we could have hoped for.
- For so many other moments, every day, that God catches our attention just to say, “I did this for you, because I love you.”
The holidays can be stressful and overwhelming, even when the rest of life is going smoothly. But whatever circumstances you face today, this week, this year, I pray you find time to gather with those you love and, more importantly, you find a way to be thankful…no matter what.
“Thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).