I’m reposting this from my archives because I need the reminder today. Thankfulness is a way of life–and it should show:
I braved the grocery store today with two children in tow. Today being two days before Thanksgiving. And I survived.
Somebody needs to give me some serious mom points. Just kidding. Mostly.
Anyway, the store was a seriously crazy place today. Traffic jam in the baking aisle kind of crazy. Watch your small children so they don’t get run over kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that normally would have me pulling my hair out and one step short of murdering the kids before I got done.
Yet today we managed. We got the shopping done, and there was no screaming involved. I’m telling you, this is a Red-Sea parting kind of miracle here.
Apparently other people noticed too. I was in the middle of helping the kids count out 40 apples (don’t ask) when a man walked up to me.
“You know,” he said, “People watching is fun. There’s all kinds of people in here looking all stressed out and angry, and here you are happy and just doing your thing. I think that’s great.”
Please note two things: 1)This occurred 5 minutes into our shopping trip. My stamina had not yet been tested. 2) I’m pretty sure he had been drinking. Consider the source before you ask me if you can borrow the keys to the invisible jet.
Today in the midst of the crazy shopping, I kept noticing these red-shirted islands of calm. Here and there were store employees cheerfully assisting stressed out customers. They steered wheelchairs. They stopped traffic so customers on scooters could navigate crowded aisles. They happily dropped what they were doing to help me find what may have been the last can of pumpkin in the entire store. They pointed people to the shortest checkout lanes, and calmly chatted with customers as they rang up endless piles of groceries.
If we have Jesus in us, shouldn’t we be the same way?
Faith looks like something. Having Jesus should impact every part of our lives–even crazy-making trips to the grocery store. We have the Spirit of the Living God inside us, and that makes a difference. Love, peace, joy–these things are fruits. They aren’t qualities we strive for, but the natural result of having God with us. Being connected to Christ transforms us, and it should be visible to the world around us.
It’s appropriate to talk about all this Thanksgiving week because thankfulness should be our default setting as children of God. When God has blessed us so greatly, how can we not be thankful? God had every right to leave us in our sin, but he didn’t. He gave us mercy. He could have stopped with just pardoning us and sparing us punishment, but he went beyond that. God gave us himself, restoring our relationship with him through the cross. Our natural response to such a great gift should be thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving, I think, has the power to transform us. Thanksgiving insulates us against discontent. Cultivating thankfulness helps us rejoice in what we do have, rather than lamenting what we do not. And there is a sense in which thanksgiving opens us to receive God’s blessings. Perhaps Paul commands us to pray at all times with thanksgiving because thankfulness reminds us of who we really are: recipients of God’s great favor. It is when we come before God with hands open that we begin to understand the power of God.
Believe me, I am far from perfect in this. I have been the crazy mom at the grocery store, and I probably will be again. Thankfully, bad moments don’t necessarily make bad mothers. Chief among the things I am thankful for is God’s lavish grace. But this Thanksgiving, I want to celebrate the power of having Jesus in me. By God’s great mercy, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is alive in me.
And I want it to show.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
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