I hope you had a lovely day yesterday. This was our first year having Thanksgiving in Tennessee, and it was simple and quiet. It was also Will’s birthday and since Thanksgiving is his favorite day of the year, it makes it especially fun. Will’s dad joined us too, but sadly he took a spill on our front steps the other night and broke the bone in his upper arm. Prayers for his speedy and full recovery would be greatly appreciated.
I’ve been thinking about the prevalence of statements about what a terrible year 2020 has been. I get it that it has been a weird year with lots of challenges, but counting our blessings is always the answer. Mindset drives so much of how we feel. Why would we give in to the temptation to focus on the negative? Being grateful is a choice. It’s a choice that once made is incredibly self-reinforcing. You just have to force yourself to jump on the gratitude Merry-Go-Round. Once you are on it, it’s easy to keep it going. If you try writing down specifics for which you are grateful, you can never finish the list.
I think the other key to getting through tough times is to soak in the kinds of things that fill you with awe. Does a hike through the woods fill you up? Sam and I went for a hike about a month ago on nearby Stringer’s Ridge. It has beautiful views of the river and the city. Unfortunately, we took a few wrong turns on the way back, and ended up crossing through a briar-filled, overgrown field to get back to the car. The views, the vibrant colors, the quiet and even the sight of my car were all awe-inspiring. I never tire of sitting next to the ocean either, sunrises and sunsets, a beautiful piece of music played in my gorgeous church. You should know what fills you with awe and you should seek these things out as much as you possibly can.
Paul David Tripp said, “It is dangerous to live without your heart being captured by awe of God, because awe of God is quickly replaced by awe of you.” Does that ring true for you? It does for me. I feel like self-interest, self-pity, self-satisfaction and any inclination for haughty thoughts are all cured by a new infusion of the awe of God.
I also love this quote from Oswald Chambers:
Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.
Does that say it all? The Creator of the universe, the Author of life and faith, the infinite, all-loving God took on flesh and was born in a stable. And yet somehow we all struggle with humility. When you look at it like that — God became a Baby — it’s outrageous.
Advent begins on Sunday and really it is a season of cultivating awe over the miracle of the birth of Christ, and as Americans it is on the heels of a season of thanksgiving. It’s pretty perfect, isn’t it? Give thanks. Be awe-filled. Those few words summarize an incredible amount of our entire mission in life. May we all close out 2020 thankful and awe-filled, and of course we can also pray for an awesome 2021!
Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven.Job 25:2
P.S. My advent devotional is available on Amazon if you are looking for something different this season.
P.S.S. I snapped the picture above this morning on the Riverwalk. I wanted to clarify that it’s not Stringer’s Ridge.