It’s November! 2020 or not, it is November. This month, we Americans (for the most part and to some extent) will celebrate Thanksgiving.
One thing I have been thankful for lately is the increasing popularity of a month of thanks on social media. Day after day, community reminders help my heart remember to give thanks for so many, many gifts. Together we are thankful for who God is (good, patient, wise, generous, merciful, steadfast, almighty…and we could go on and on…) and what He has done.
Then, in less than a week, we look forward to the beginning of the celebration of Advent. An opportunity for special, sustained focus on the greatest gift of all. God with us, Immanuel. Two months of intentional thanksgiving in a row. Wow!
It occurred to me that these two months are merciful in preparing my heart for a time of much giving and receiving of gifts. Yes, Christmas is coming, and the traditional response to receiving the greatest gift involves generous, joyful giving of gifts. For better or worse, the cycle continues.
So…the question is:
Am I preparing my heart for giving and receiving gifts? It is a continuous process, not a place I arrive and never leave. This thankfulness is not even something I need to limit to two months of the year. It’s a perspective that needs constant maintenance.
- Am I giving with thanks? Is the gift an overflow out of abundance I have received, not out of need or obligation or any other selfish motivation? Am I checking the list off as I shop to get it done or to bless the ones I love as I have been blessed?
- Am I receiving with thanks? Am I mindful of the generosity of both the giver and the Giver, not distracted from a thankful attitude by a shiny gift? Do I just want to clean everything up and go home, or am I thankful in this moment for this loving gesture?
It’s a wonderful time of the year, yes, as long as my heart is thankful. May it ever be.