Begin Advent with Thankfulness
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
To me, thankfulness is not so much an act as an orientation.
As Advent begins this first Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 27), it is a good time to renew our faith in God’s goodness. “We can speak all the lofty phrases we want about God’s sovereign goodness, but the proof is in the thanking. The Bible tells us to give thanks for all things and in all things. It tells us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to God. Only thankfulness on this scale is an incontestable sign we believe what we say. It is the single most convincing testimony beyond our spoken testimony that we’ve put our hope in the God who vindicates and saves.” (Mark Buchanan, “Spiritual Rhythms”)
The daily discipline of thanking God can change a life. Just ask Ann Voskamp, Canadian farmer’s wife and author of the New York Times best-selling “One Thousand Gifts.” Many have learned from Ann about worshipping God with eucharisteo, the Greek word translated “to be grateful; to give thanks.” Mostly that it is our choice. We can choose to whine, grumble, complain or even just neglect looking for God’s good gifts. Or we can discipline ourselves to recognize them. The more we do it, the more naturally we do it. “When we practice giving thanks, we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see.”
How will you live a life of thankfulness today? During the Advent season? All year?
- Set a goal to notice and announce/record three of God’s gift each day.
- Keep a large jar out filled with paper slips of recorded thanks.
- Make simple ornaments for your tree, commemorating God’s special gifts this year.
- Worship God with thanksgiving, “Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him. Let the Amen sound from His people again, Gladly for aye we adore Him.” (hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” Joachim Neander, 1863)
If you would enjoy walking through Advent one-word-a-day, then please download the free printable of my Advent 2016 Guide which corresponds to the “Shine” section of my book “Dwelling Places.” The words begin on Sunday, November 27 and conclude New Year’s Eve. Click on this icon and you need to have the book – it’s under $10 right now on Christianbook and Amazon. (Hint: There is also a 40-day Lenten section called “Renew” and two other sections “Dwell” and “Grow”)
Wishing you a shining, peaceful Advent Season. under the mercy, Cindy
©2016 excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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