"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen


What I Learned on Christmas: Gratitude

Check out my two other posts in this series on Love and Service. This is the last in the series.

Despite what every good preacher (and Christian!) says, for many, Christmas is a holiday about the joy of getting. Sure, we're supposed to be thankful for the gift of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection. Our true joy should be in giving gifts to others, and to God. But, much of the time, it's not that way.

It's often most notable in children - mostly because they haven't been taught to restrain their enthusiasm. But adults can be just as bad. We compare - in our minds, anyway - our gifts to others. Just like our kids, we may need to be reminded to say "thank you" - and even then, we may not be sincere. Our anticipation of our "stash" has a much longer shelf-life than our gratitude for what we have.
But it isn't always that way, and it certainly doesn't please God. And my son reminded me of just this fact on Christmas Day.
My parents live a few thousand miles away from us, so they shipped our gifts to us. Once we got back from my husband's parents, we sat down to open their presents.

The kids, of course, were anxious to get the presents open, and they enjoyed all the wonderful things my folks sent. They were clearly engrossed in their play.

Or maybe not so much.

As soon as I mentioned calling my parents, my son was, literally, on my heels.
"I love my Christmas presents so much, Mommy. I really want to say thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Weiner."
 I'm not exaggerating when I say his enthusiasm for expressing his gratitude nearly matched his excitement about opening his presents a few minutes before. He was actually IMPATIENT to thank them (he barely allowed me to have a word in edgewise before he tried to grab the phone from my hand).

And I got to thinking how often I am eager and impatient for the blessings God pours on me, and how apathetic and forgetful I can be about thanking Him for them. And, of course, how much that simple fact must displease my Heavenly  Father.

And again, I look to the attitude of my child to help me be more and more like my Savior--on Christmas, the day of His birth.

Heavenly Father, help me to praise and thank You for the wonderful gifts You give me as enthusiastically as I ask for them - as enthusiastically as my son sought to thank his grandparents. Help me to express my gratitude naturally, spontaneously, and authentically. Help me, Father, to continue to learn from You, and those You put before me - especially my children lately - how You want me to be. In the precious Name of Your Son I pray. Amen

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence


  1. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

  2. AMEN, Joanne! It is pitiful how thankless we can be, sometimes.

    Great post!!

    I have a prayer request on arise 2 write.

    Blessings, andrea


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