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“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” – Colossians 3:14-15 (NLT)
It is FINALLY (yes, we’re excited about it!) getting cold here in the hills and woods where we live. I honestly didn’t know when Summer would finally end, with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s lingering in late October. However, we have finally had a few touches of frost and the trees will be completely shed of their leaves in a week or two. Fall is beautiful, and we’ve enjoyed seeing the prolonged coloration of the leaves this year. Now though, with the temperature dropping, it’s time to slow down in this much quieter time of year.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I find myself wearing a coat when we leave the house. I am honestly not much for wearing a coat, but I’m thankful to have one when the temperature is in the 30’s leaving for work. In Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul is telling the people he’s writing to “clothe” themselves with various Christ-like attitudes and actions. It is this behavior that will bring warmth to those around these individuals and ultimately change their hearts. At the end of this short passage, he tells them to be thankful. We’re to be thankful to God for everything he has done for us, everything he is doing for us and everything he will do for us.
It is vitally important to us that we slow down and enjoy a peaceful season of Thanksgiving, especially with how quickly Christmas is approaching. Our garden is officially done for the year, and we were blessed with a good harvest. While it’s most likely just a coincidence, having Thanksgiving a month before Christmas is a blessing. Just after Thanksgiving, we will disappear into the woods for several days of deer hunting. I honestly don’t care whether or not we are able to harvest a deer. It’s the peace we find in the woods that keeps us going back. The joy comes from sitting in the quiet of the trees and hearing the heartbeat of God’s creation around us.
Take some time this year, before the hustle and bustle (some may call it insanity) of the Holidays kicks in to be thankful. Keeping yourself clothed in thankfulness is a powerful remedy to holiday stress and tension. In our own lives, we’ve noticed that when we were more wrapped up in Holiday “stuff” (giving the stuff, getting stuff, doing stuff…) we didn’t have much room to be thankful. It’s the quiet evenings together when all is peaceful and we’re together that we find that thankfulness. It’s in those moments that we truly appreciate the significance of Christ arriving in Bethlehem. If we can’t be thankful for the little things in our life, how can we truly be thankful for what God has done for us?
Here are a few ways to help you to “always be thankful”:
- Be a Blessing:
- Go out of your way to bless someone else. It can be as simple as stopping to talk to someone who appears lonely or having a bad day. If you see someone who looks like they need some help, take the initiative and offer a hand. If someone in the drive-thru or restaurant seems down, ask the wait staff or teller for their bill and pay it for them without saying a word. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it must come from the heart.
- Be in the Word:
- If you don’t already, consider starting a devotional reading in the morning before your day gets started. While this isn’t a “deep dive” into scripture, it will get God’s word into your heart before you ever step out the door. This is another way to clothe your heart before going out into the cold world. Steph is currently reading “Total Christmas Makeover”.
- Make a List & Check it Twice (or as many times as you need):
- I’m a “list” guy. I make lists of everything. If I don’t put it on my calendar or into whatever list I’m currently making I’ll forget it. It might be cliché, but as Christmas approaches, make a list of what you’re thankful for. Try to add 2 things to the list a day, and see how quickly your blessings stack up.
- Bonus: If you’re looking for a heartfelt Christmas gift for your significant other, make a separate list of memories and why you’re thankful for them and give it to them at Christmas. (Have it professionally printed on festive letterhead and they’ll cherish it for years to come.)
Free Printable Stationary Download Click HERE
Blessings, Jason & Steph