Recently the city and community where I live experienced a tragedy, that had ripple effects and impacted many, if not most, of our citizens. Cities all over the nation have had similar experiences during 2018, whether through cancer, horrible accidents, natural disasters, or violence. Walking through this difficult time with friends and strangers who quickly became friends due to the intensity of the circumstances, reminded me of how much I have for which to be thankful.
Hard times often do that. We have to look away from the tragedy for a moment, to just have a moment of respite from the heaviness, and we find ourselves searching for the hope around us. As we enter the season where we celebrate the holidays together, we need to prepare our hearts for thanksgiving. Yes, we need to prepare for Thanksgiving, but even more so prepare our hearts to truly give thanks.
The beauty of seasons is that they pass and then always come back. So while this season of tragedy we are in the midst of is so difficult, we know that it will eventually pass. This is a reason to be thankful. Fall turns to winter, winter becomes spring, spring turns to summer, and summer finally brings back the fall. God designed this cycle so it will always remind us seasons will continually change. We can trust this continuity of change, and we can trust that the One who created it is in control.
And as we press on and press into this truth, we can choose to be thankful. We can lead those around us in seeing the beauty in the hard. We do have so many reasons to be thankful even when facing difficulty.
There is great power in choosing an attitude of gratitude When we dig deep and choose to focus on the good, there is a ripple effect. It impacts those around us and causes them to look up and make a choice too. Choosing gratitude over complaint is the first step toward choosing hope over despair. One choice at a time leads us through the tough season we are in and out to the other side.
How will we influence those around us? How will we lead? Staying focused on the hard or intentionally choosing gratitude and leading the people we love toward hope?