16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Today’s thought is titled “The Discipline of Gratitude”. We have to choose to be grateful. We can choose to be grateful even when it is hard. For example, if someone criticises us, we can choose to be grateful for honest feedback, or we can choose to feel hurt. This is hard. With a capital H. When it’s something we’ve slaved over for hours, or perhaps really taken care with choosing some words or a present, and get criticised, it is very easy to feel hurt and very hard to feel grateful – even if we do feel grateful later on.
How can we try and feel gratitude up front? To respond positively to criticism rather than losing our rag, sulking or bursting into tears? Hmmm… And here we are, right back at the start of Advent, when I confessed to finding it hard to follow St Paul. If we followed today’s reading from Colossians, we would be doing everything joyfully in the name of Jesus. Yes, it’s hard. But yes, we must try. As Pam says, we need to strive to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. Both she and Dorothy seem to be doing so. And I’ll try to strive too.
Finally, some more music. This is by a school choir from Australia, singing Benjamin Britten’s “This Little Babe” from his Ceremony of Carols. Bear with me – there is a link to the reading above – the last two lines are:
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.
Help us, as this little babe is so few days old with Christmas only a week ago, to inspire us with joy for the next year, and so to foil evil.