Taking Count…

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring with them so much pressure and tension.  The pressure to try to make everyone get along.  The pressure to make everyone happy.  The pressure to keep up with the Joneses.  But I’d like to put a little different pressure on us this holiday season.

Last week I had a chance to travel back home, which for me is near Chicago, and enjoy some down time with my family.  I look forward to Thanksgiving each year because it’s the one big holiday that I can relax.  Christmas and Easter bring with them a lot of tension and expectations as a worship director.  As I was home, I took some time to intentionally remember all the things that I am thankful for.

My wife…  Our home…  A family that, although we don’t always see eye to eye, loves each other unconditionally…  Enough money to have an amazing Thanksgiving feast…

You get the picture.  I could, if I’m being honest, write a list that would nauseate you because it would be so long and sound so cliche.  But that’s exactly what we forget to do.  We take all these things for granted…like they’re just expected. Or, even worse, a right.

But they aren’t.  Everyone’s list looks different.  And even in what seems like the worst of times in our lives, we have so much to be thankful for.

So I’m pressuring you.  I’ll bet you didn’t expect that when you started reading.  I want you to take time this week, and throughout the Christmas season, to make a list of all the things you need so desperately to be thankful for.  And don’t make a small list and lose it.  Keep it running so you can truly look back with gratitude and humility for all the amazing gifts you have in your life.

When we live a life of gratitude, all those pressures and expectations carry with them less weight.