Gratitude This Christmas

By: Lucell Larawan 

Most of us do not always thank God for every day’s blessings, as if we walked without gravity and breathed without oxygen. This can happen if busyness takes the reins. Take away gratitude and our grind becomes fuel for the flame. Without saying “thank you” to the One who gives us the ability to work and provide our necessities, we notice that the exhaustion immediately becomes tons of care.

I experience this sometimes as I bump immediately with projects to finish and frown upon substandard results. I compare these with moments when I first spend time in thankful prayer wherein flashes of thoughts are coming—God’s way of imparting wisdom—making me do my tasks more easily and productively as divine knowledge is received, one which cannot ordinarily be known by me. Then I remember that being connected to the Vine yields greater results. Thankfulness is not a mere routine; it is the key to take part in the divine.

If we cease to be thankful, we become like training dartboards. Do we feel bombarded with many problems that make us feel overwhelmed and helpless? One of the reasons for this is our lack of gratitude. We should not allow such a scenario. To avoid becoming just a victim of circumstances, let us start to thank God every day. Forget not the small things. Nothing happens by accident—good or bad. Even a sour encounter can ultimately turn into good.

I have much to thank God for this Christmas season. Without His intervention, what could I do as a child growing up with an alcoholic father and a suffocating home environment? Probably, I could easily be consigned into the path of delinquency and pain. But thank God, I have been rescued from the generational cycle of pain. I do not hook myself with alcohol; neither do I waste my time with bad friends. I finished my bachelor’s and master’s degrees—my surprises to the spiritual enemies out there who see to it that I would take their menus seriously. I have had a long business mentoring career with a proven record in research and refereed journal publications. Without a fine arts degree, I have a fulfilling journey as a visual artist with some validations through exhibits and awards (international and national). Moreover, I have been blessed with my pen—a skill that I must use for a positive impact. Now I am about to start with a new career to go side by side with art-making. So I say to myself, “Count your blessings, things could always be worse.”

Let us reflect this season and thank God for sending His Son to save us from our sins. Do we need saving? Yes. It is clear: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64: 6)”. This is the reason Jesus came: to save us from this hopeless sinfulness and make us righteous by His grace. To further examine this truth, this passage also appears: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption (I Corinthians 1: 30)”.This is Christmas.

I thank God for Christmas. Without it, I would not rise from my pit of hopelessness that I was accustomed to as a child. I would have journeyed elsewhere in its absence. I would still be a puppet to the wishes of the principalities and powers up there, those that govern the unenlightened. I really should be grateful.

However, I wonder what makes many still live with ingratitude. This is what Charles Brown wittily wrote about when he explained why only one of the ten cleansed lepers returned to thank Jesus. He said: One waited to see if the cure was real. One waited to see if it would last. One said he would see Jesus later. One decided that he had never had leprosy. One said he would have gotten well anyway. One gave the glory to the priests. One said, “O, well, Jesus didn’t really do anything.”One said, “Any rabbi could have done it.”One said, “I was already much improved.”