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An attitude of gratitude
November 22, 2010
by Pastor Keith E. Carlson, Evangelical Covenant Church, Dassel

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

As I sit musing about the weeks ahead and all they will bring, my thoughts naturally turn to Thanksgiving and the celebration we annually observe. Something down deep inside my heart begins to stir, and I feel a real sense of joy and peace.

It comes naturally. It comes easily. Positive feelings. Warm feelings. Feelings of assurance and peace. I realize that, for me, Thanksgiving is not just a scheduled annual event that happens the fourth Thursday of every November.

No, Thanksgiving is a daily experience in my life. It is with me every day because Jesus has brought it with Him into my heart – it is an attitude of gratitude.

Anyone who is a devoted follower of Jesus understands the feelings I have just attempted to describe. You may choose different words, but you know those grateful feelings of peace and assurance.

The gratitude that wells up in the hearts of Christians has three dimensions:

• We are grateful for blessings. Like everyone, we are thankful for the many blessings we have received from God. We count them, and recount them again and again. The blessings of family and home, food and clothes, health and life, forgiveness and grace, and so much more.

• We are grateful for the abiding presence of Christ. Every day, the strength we find to live with peace and joy comes from having Jesus in our hearts. As Paul reminds the Colossians, Jesus brings the rule (standard) of peace into our hearts that enables us to meet the challenges of the present with confidence and assurance.

• We are grateful for the life to come. The words of Jeremiah 29:11 tell us of God’s plans for us, “plans to give you a hope and a future.” As devoted followers of Jesus, we enjoy living with the certainty of this promise of God.

As you plan for your family gatherings and celebrations of Thanksgiving this season, I hope that it will remind you, too, of the attitude of gratitude that comes daily to those who have Jesus in their heart.