Christmas Devotionals: Thankfulness
Read Luke 1:46-56
‘Say thank you’ is something parents often tell young children to do. It’s a way to show value to a person who has done something for you. Parents ask children to do it in the hope that as they grow up they will start to notice all the things people do for them. For adults saying ‘thank you’ sometimes comes from duty but is best when it comes from an overflow of gratitude when something has been done for you.
Here Mary’s heart is so bubbling over with God’s goodness that she bursts into song. She thanks God for His salvation, for blessing her and for fulfilling His promises to Israel. The song is sometimes called ‘Mary’s Magnificat’ which means to magnify or bring praise or glory to. In it Mary thanks God for the one thing we can always be thankful for; Jesus. Jesus came, lived, died and rose again for us so that we could be saved from sin and death.
Sometimes, when life is tough, it is hard to be thankful. But we can choose to thank God, as Mary did. We do this because;
- We are blessed. We all have something we can thank God for, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. It might only be something small (eating some food we like or a kind word someone said to encourage us) or something we wouldn’t normally think of (having somewhere to live or living in a country where we’re free to worship).
- God has done great things. Look around you; God created the whole world – every beautiful thing you’ve ever seen was made by Him. Look at yourself; God gives you life – He gives you every breath you breathe and everything you’re able to do. Look at Jesus; God sent His only Son to die in your place so that you could be saved.
- It lifts our eyes. Sometimes life makes us hurt. Sometimes it can be hard to find good things. But they are there. Looking at who God is and what He has done, lifts our eyes from our own circumstances and brings us joy, even in dark times and places.
What can you thank God for today?
If you would like to you could do one of these activities to help you;
Playing (for the very young – or young at heart)
Get out some Happyland, Lego, Sylvanian Families, dolls or whatever your child plays with. Help them to make or arrange houses, people, animals, etc. Talk as you play about things to thank God for that they can see. Thank God as you talk.
Craft (for those who enjoy being creative)
Why not make a blessings jar? Get a used tub, jar or basket (or buy a cheap Kilner jar if you're feeling posh) and decorate it with stickers. Put it in a place everyone can access with some small pieces of paper and pens. Write things God has blessed you with on the paper and put them in the jar. You could do this once a week or every day. When you have something you're asking God for, look back through the jar to raise your faith levels.
Singing (alone or together, out loud or listening to the music)
Feel free to just sing these songs if you know them, but if you can also look them up online for lyrics and music. Of course, God may put another song on your heart to sing so feel free to use that instead.
My Soul Magnifies The Lord – Chris Tomlin
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
O Taste and See – Bethel Kids
Joy to the World – Isaac Watts (Trad.)
Reflection (making some time to chat to God)
Take a bag of sweets (or other snack you like). As you eat (or suck if it’s a sweet) think of good things and thank God for them.