Ed. Note – It’s my pleasure to include a post written by my wife, Amy. -AR

It’s December 2018. Christmas has just passed. I am grateful. Yes, I am grateful that Christmas is over with, for the most part.

The idea of gratitude is actually quite overdone in writing, and I hesitate to discuss it except for the fact that this command from our Lord has been a real challenge to me in 2018, especially in these last few months.

As believers and followers of Christ, we are commanded to be thankful. But in this command should also be the overflowing and overwhelming desire to wantto be thankful. My Lord has chosen me. He has saved me from sin and death. He has allowed me to be part of the family of God. I should be jumping for joy at all times every day.

However, like many believers, I don’t.

I grumble and complain. Trivial stuff in the overall scheme of life – renovations in the house not going as fast as I would like. The messiness and disarray from a home under reconstruction. Impatience with entitled students not doing what I tell them to (yet the realization in the back of my mind that I am the same selfish individual wanting my own way). Then the less than trivial. The death of my father in January. My mom being alone. The death of our dog in February. Family members in my husband’s family who have died this year. Various friends and colleagues who have loved ones sick or dying… The list goes on.

This is where God’s sovereignty comes in. Continually reminding myself that God is sovereign over all things, and also that my God is good in all things. I truly believe this. Of course I do not always understand the whyof what happens around me. I still ask the question, but these days I do so more because it’s natural to talk to my Father, yet knowing there are mysteries in this life which I am not meant to know about or understand.

In all of life’s happenings – good or bad – there is always something to be grateful for. My mom got to spend six weeks with us here in South Carolina in June, and is also here with us in December over the holidays. I am grateful she is with us. My husband and I are both thankful to not only have her company, but to also serve her in this first holiday season without my Dad. I’m grateful for the comfort she is to me in this first holiday season without my Dad and our dog. I’m grateful the Lord has blessed Anthony and I so abundantly with a home, work, a new loving church family, and ministry opportunities coming up in 2019.

Yes, the subject of gratitude as a secular mantra is overdone. But I speak of true gratitude. Thankfulness as a believer for who I am in Christ, with the grace and mercy bestowed on me which I do not deserve. As a follower I need to remind myself of the importance of this gratitude. That in a world where people are quick to be offended, desirous to place blame on others for seemingly everything and often tending only be grateful during the now-plastic commercialized “holiday” season, we are reminded as believers that we are not to conform to this world. We are only temporary sojourners here on earth. My kingdom and my home are elsewhere.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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