Why is it important to be grateful…especially during the holidays?
This time of year tends to be especially busy for most people. We have parties to plan, dinners to make, special church or school activities to attend and family to visit. Because there are so many things calling for our attention, it can be a rather crazy and stressful time. Cultivating a heart of gratitude helps to refocus your mind on what is most important.
The holidays should be a time to thank God for who he is and how he has blessed you. It’s not about stuff. Is stuff wrong? No. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, I think it is important to focus on gratitude first. There is a danger in being too focused on what you don’t have. This type of attitude robs you of your joy and makes it even harder to find gratitude.
The most important part of the holidays should be cherishing time with family and making memories. The more grateful you are for these things, the easier it will be to enjoy a less stressful season.
But What if it’s hard?
This time of year is meant to be joyful and celebratory. But I would be remiss to not point out the fact that many people struggle during the holidays. Those who have dealt with loss or are going through a rough season financially or otherwise may be looking upon the coming season as a dreadful time. If you find yourself in this situation, I want to encourage you to still look for ways to be grateful.
My friend, Crystal from Wisdom Seeking Mommy, recently wrote an article for The Welcoming House Blog about being thankful when it’s hard. She opens up about her struggles of how to be thankful even when it seems like there isn’t anything to be thankful for. If you are experiencing this, I hope you will take a few minutes to read her post.
I also want you to know that I have also been in the place where I have struggled coming up with things I have to be grateful for. It’s not that I was not grateful for God or my family, but honestly, some holidays have been hard.
There have been years when all I wanted for was for my husband to be offered a job or to be able to see my Grandma again. This time last year we had to buy groceries with food stamps because we barely had enough money to get by. We have had some rough holidays, but I know it wasn’t my strength that got me through.
I know that it was God who has provided for my family during rough times. It is because of those experiences, that I will choose to always look for ways to be grateful. I also think that remembering those times helps me to be even more grateful for what the Lord has done and continues to do for me and my family. There are still some uncertainties in my life, but I often have to make the choice not to focus not on those, but on God.
If I spend too much time wishing for more stable employment for my husband or to finally be able to move into a house, I am missing out on what the God is teaching me right now. However, I can still be grateful for the opportunities the Lord has laid before us and for the fact that we still have a warm place to call home. It’s all about perspective.
One of my favorite hymns, especially for this time of year, is Great is Thy Faithfulness. It reminds me that the Lord is loving, faithful and he that provides for my every need. This passage from Lamentations is where some of the lyrics come from:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
So even if the holidays are hard for you, I want to let you know that you can still learn to cultivate gratitude this season. Start looking for things around you to be grateful for and remember his great faithfulness!
Stay tuned for my next post which will continue the theme of gratitude. In that post, I will list five specific ways to cultivate gratitude that I hope will help you find joy this holiday season.
Do you find it hard to find gratitude during the holidays?
What is something you have done to focus more on being grateful?