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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Most Grateful

I know it's not Thanksgiving; we just pass through that holiday and onto the next. But I think the two holidays we Americans celebrate the biggest (Thanksgiving and Christmas) really go together. We often talk about how we're grateful for this or for that, especially at Thanksgiving time.

But have you ever thought about prioritizing your gratitude? I mean, have you ever thought about which things you're most grateful for? I'm guessing the pat answer for most of us would be a spouse or family, maybe the children or the job --- even our home. I suspect those aren't really the highest priorities in the scope of our gratitude. How so?

For some reason, I've been reflecting on the things I'm grateful for. Mind you, I'm grateful for a lot. The list is really quite lengthy of the things I'm grateful to God for. But I find there are two things that really stand out for me as I get older (and hopefully wiser). Let me tell you about them.

I've blogged before about the fact that Christmas seems to have gotten bigger as I've learned more about my brokenness. The fact of the matter is that when I first turned to the Lord, I really didn't have much belief in the fact that I needed a Savior. After all, I considered myself to be a "pretty good person." I knew I sinned and all, but generally thought of myself as someone who was respectable and as above reproach as most would ever want to be. Admittedly, that was a pretty naive point of view. The real truth of the situation? I am a hopeless sinner in desperate need of a Savior. So once I realized this truth, the gift of a Savior, born on Christmas day became enormous for me. It is one of the two things I am most grateful for --- that a Savior was born on Christmas Day --- for me.

In the book of John 6:44-45, Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. ... Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me." So as I come to understand what this really means, I realize that it would be humanly impossible for me to believe in or follow Jesus ... unless the Holy Spirit predisposed me to that belief and followership. The fact of the matter is that we are called to believe in the unbelievable. We are called to live the impossible. So from a human perspective, it could never happen on my own power. But the Father draws me to Christ, and the Holy Spirit empowers me to do what I need to do in that relationship. Quite frankly, I can't decide whether this is a greater gift than the Savior being born on Christmas day. But I am convinced that it is at least as great of a gift. And so it is the other of the two things I am most grateful for --- that the Father draws me to Himself and makes me able to believe and respond to Him.

So there you have it - the two things at the top of my gratitude list. They are the things in life that I am most grateful for. How about you? What's at the top of your list?

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