“The gateway into Advent, into Christmas and the holidays, is thanksgiving. And if we can stay in a place of joy, it’s always possible whenever thanksgiving is possible.”

We can get so weary with the Christmas decorations, travel schedules, next “big” toy or piece of technology, that we lose the true meaning of the day – Jesus came. And that should bring us to praise.

Ann Voskamp says that is the origin of our sin as image-bearers.

 “Our fall really was ingratitude; what God gave us was not enough. The one thing in that garden He said we couldn’t have – that’s the thing we wanted. It was discontentment, and Satan stirs that discontentment up in us all of the time, especially as we move into the holidays.”

How can we overcome that discontentment?

Go back and start to count all of God’s good gifts and be ushered into His presence.

“That changes the holidays because it keeps our focus on what’s holy.”

If you’re struggling with the holiday commercials and seemingly-perfect families around you, preach the gospel to yourself.

God is always good.

I’m always loved.

Joy is always possible whenever thanksgiving is possible.

God loves and cares for us more than we can fathom. That is the root of our gratitude.

“Your story begins with a kiss. That’s how God made people. He gathered up some dust and dirt.  Then the one real God, the Father-King of the universe, knelt close, and closer and closer until His very breath breathed on your skin. And His love and life filled us until we were warm and fully alive. Your story begins with a kiss because your Father-King knows that the greatest gift your heart really wants and needs is love – to feel the safe, forever warmth of His love.” .

Does that idea of God make you recoil? Ann says this is scriptural. God came in humility so we might approach Him. None of us are good enough. None of us are perfect enough or pure enough for God’s presence on our own – so He came down.

The dirt under your fingernails won’t keep you from God.

“God isn’t about intimidation. It’s about intimacy and I think that’s why He comes as a baby. He comes small and fragile – not to intimidate us, not to scare us. Who can resist a baby? Jesus wants us to know that during the holidays, during Christmas, as we enter into a new year, that we might be changed as we draw near to Him and have intimacy with Him. All of us are really only changed by love.”

Key Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 9:15

Featured Songs: O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Steven Curtis Chapman; Emmanuel [Hallowed Manger Ground] by Chris Tomlin; Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin

Highlight : Gratitude versus ingratitude

Unwrapping the greatest gift

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