I love the Christmas season. The colors, the smells, the excitement - it's all wonderful to me. And as a believer who understands the true importance of Christmas - Christ's incarnation - this time of year is definitely my favorite. I'm reminded of all that we have to be thankful for, of all that Christ has done for us.
Sometimes, though, the holidays can be difficult. The pain of a lost loved one can be exacerbated during the holidays. The frustrations of financial difficulties are only augmented in the face of Christmas. And illness or depression don't suddenly disappear or get better simply because everyone else is festive.
No matter what your current season in life - visible blessings or constant struggle - there are at least four things we can all be grateful for this Christmas.
As Christians, we are beyond blessed. We know how undeserving of salvation we are, and yet God in His mercy has saved us anyway. He bridged the unfathomable gap that our sin created and gave His Son so that we could have Eternal Life.
So even if there are struggles and hardships, we can all be thankful for the free gift of salvation that is available to all men everywhere.
Most of us can probably remember at least one time when the Lord clearly intervened on our behalf. Even if no one else recognized His hand, we certainly did! It could be an unexpected financial gift, a miraculous rescue, or a healing that science can't explain.
In addition to being thankful for so great a salvation, we can also be grateful for past help.
I don't know about you, but my life usually feels anything but peaceful. Chaos seems to rule my life much more easily than calmness does! And yet, no matter how unsettled life feels, I definitely sense an undercurrent of peace that can only be from the Lord.
The Bible is so right when it describes Godly peace as something that passes all understanding, meaning that to the world, feeling peaceful doesn't make sense. But the inner peace that God gives to His children goes beyond words.
While we're being thankful for salvation and past help, we can also praise Him for the current peace that He provides.
The Lord has promised that His mercies will be new every morning. That holds true for tomorrow morning, and the morning after that, and the morning after that, and for every other morning that He chooses to give us. And because God has been faithful to fulfill every other promise He has ever made, we can find contentment in knowing that He is going to give us continued mercy for the rest of our days.
No matter where you are this Christmas season, we have so much - SO much! to be thankful for. We can (and should!) be thankful for salvation. We can be grateful for past help. We can praise Him for current peace. And we can rejoice in His promise for future mercy. What a great God we serve!