I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
Thanksgiving is long behind us. Christmas is almost here. If you are experiencing divorce, unemployment, death of a loved one or any life challenge, you might feel more depressed than cheerful this time of year.
The first thing to do is to give yourself permission to feel far from merry. Holidays can bring a lot of painful memories to the surface. You are not alone. I’m sure by now you’ve heard about about the many people who think “holiday cheer” is akin to holiday fear. According to the National Institute of Health, during this time of year people experience a high incidence of depression. Hospitals officials and police forces report high incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. The statistics are apparent.
One thing that can help while you are struggling to move forward, however, is a little dollop of gratitude.
The short prayer below is an excerpt from A Road to Healing: 365 Daily Reflections for Divorced Catholics by Lisa Duffy. You don’t need to be divorced or Catholic to appreciate her depth of gratitude.
For the gift of waking up this day, I thank you, Lord.
For the gift of my sight and being able to speak and hear, I thank you, Lord..
For a roof over my head, even if it isn’t mine, I thank you, Lord.
For the gift of free will and the ability to make my own choices, I thank you, Lord.
For the gift of my faith, I thank you, Lord.
For the gift of knowing what it is like to love, I thank you, Lord.
For the gift of my friends who love me, I thank you, Lord.
For the gift of experiencing a little of what you suffered for me as I carry my cross, I
thank you, Lord.
For the gift of the good things you will bring out of my suffering, I thank you, Lord.
For the ways you will change my heart and help me become a better person because
of what’s happened, I thank you, Lord.
For the little triumphs as well as the big ones, I thank you, Lord.
For forgiving me, for saving me, and for not forgetting about me, I thank you, Lord.
For the promise of eternal life with you in heaven, I thank you, Lord. Amen.
When I started practicing the art of gratitude 33 years ago I didn’t feel much gratitude and I was skeptical, but faith kept me writing a daily gratitude list. Then in about a year’s time, right around Christmas, the lights, sounds and seasonal scents brought me to tears. Nothing had changed, but I had changed. For the first time in a very long time I was attuned to the world. From that Christmas on, my reoccurring Christmas miracle is the depth of gratitude I carry in my heart. I pray that this Christmas season, gratitude will change your life in the same manner it changed mine.
On this year’s Christmas gratitude list: I am grateful I have discovered joy in humble, small ways instead of holding out for big achievements. Oh, in addition, I am grateful for staying cozily indoors and sipping cinnamon-y homemade cocoa with my daughter while rekindling so many fine wintertime memories.
Now what’s on your Christmas gratitude list? Even if you don’t “feel” it, keep the faith. Soon enough, in God’s time, you will understand how gratitude changes everything!
Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!