Christmas Gratitude

nativity

I am thankful for Christmas, it’s a gift not deserved
It symbolizes the privilege to humbly serve
I am thankful for the manger, my Savior’s bed
Giving up his rights, a life of poverty he led

The King of Kings, creator of all things
Came lowly, quietly, bound as a human being
From riches to rags, a story seldom told
No room in the inn, God left out in the cold

I’m thankful for Christmas, when down is up
It reminds me that giving actually fills my cup
I am thankful for the poor who teach me real faith
They teach me how to walk, in more eloquent ways

I’m thankful for Christmas, God gave up all rights
He honored lowly shepherds, on that bright starry night
Jesus came to love the unimportant, turning success upside down
With no earthly titles, born in a forgotten town

I’m thankful for Christmas, Jesus experienced every human grief
He walked on this earth, homeless, rejected, forsaken, not believed
But it teaches me about pain, pain I too often try to avoid
That it draws me to the only One who can fill my heart void

I’m thankful for Christmas, God came for a relationship
Jesus had close friends, experienced loss and actually wept
It shows me that tears that fill my eyes
Bring healing to my hurt and that he hears my cries

Christmas teaches that man is not perfect, as not to depend
It reminds me to put my hope in the One without end
Jesus came for my mistakes, for my sins and disgrace
Christmas keeps me from religion and makes me run towards Grace

I am thankful for Christmas, it’s a gift that keeps on giving
I gain a new perspective, with a view of eternal living
My creator to a cradle, who wonderfully made me
Makes me live with a greater sense of responsibility

Christmas is about waiting, there was 400 years of silence
It was a hopeless world, dark, oppressed and full of violence
But then “For unto us a child is born, a son is given,” the prophets decreed
Mighty God, wonderful counselor, everlasting father, the prince of peace

I’m thankful for Christmas, it’s about forgiveness, a gift offered freely
It makes me let go of past grudges and do it more quickly
I am grateful for an innocent baby willing to be punished
My life is based on Him growing up, opening his arms, saying, “It is Finished!

So this Christmas, receive the good news that brings everlasting joy
It the serious business of heaven given by that little baby boy
Take responsibility, don’t wait for perfect conditions, this is the day
The angels remind us a savior has been born, REJOICE and don’t delay

The Crossroad of Gratitude – A Poem

DaddyLarissa

#bestdaughterever 

I am thankful for today, it’s a gift not deserved
It allows me the privilege to humbly serve
I am thankful for the poor who teach me real faith
They teach me how to walk, in more eloquent ways

I am thankful for the pain that I try hard to avoid
It draws me to the only One who can fill my heart void
I am thankful for my tears that sting my blood shot eyes
They bring healing to my hurt and expose the lies

I am thankful that man is not perfect, as not to depend
It reminds me to put my hope in the One without end
I am thankful for my mistakes, for my sins and disgrace
It keeps me from religion and makes me run towards Grace

I am thankful for the journey, life’s ups and downs
Living fully in the moment,  possibilities have no bounds
I am thankful for friends, who put up with my foolish ways
“He is a stubborn mule, but we love him anyways!”

I am thankful for the beauty, that never goes away
Looking at her smile, that is offered every day
I am thankful for her brown hair, brunette I’m told
It was that way from the beginning, it never gets old

I am thankful for two gifts, their eyes deep vivid blue
They have grown up wisely, I am enjoying the view
I am thankful for their passionate, selfless hearts
Their maturity comes from the side of their mother’s parts

I am thankful for the two who brought me into this world
They allowed me to dream, to make my life unfurled
I am thankful when they would say, “Follow your passions”
It has brought me to difficult places full of God’s fashion

I am thankful for my creator, who wonderfully made me
He makes me walk boldly with a sense of great responsibility
I am thankful for his patience, his utter sense of waiting
For me to grow up, get on board and become consenting

I am thankful for children, showing hope for tomorrow
They teach me to trust, play, love, laugh and marvel
I am thankful for children, who have no limitations
They teach me to dream, to ask, and not to question

I am thankful for forgiveness, a gift offered freely
Makes me let go of past grudges and do it more quickly
I am thankful for the Sacrifice willing to be punished
My life is based on Him saying, “It is Finished!”

Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.

It was on a hot summer day, in 1971, where two care-free 8 year old girls, one with blonde hair, the other brown, were running, playing, laughing, and doing what 8 year old girls do, in the basement of the brown hair girl’s home.

As they were playing, they found an abandoned freezer that opened from the top. They thought it would be fun to make that freezer their own little hideaway. So they climbed in and giggled and laughed and told scary stories and told each other who they thought the cutest boy in school was. It was their own little world where no one else knew where they were.

When they had had enough of the dark, and when it began to get a little warm and stuffy, they decided it was time to get out, but when they tried, the latch had shut and these two little care-free girls were trapped in an airtight freezer with very little oxygen left.

They screamed and yelled and screamed and yelled…and when they began to get weak…they prayed and sang Sunday school songs and then prayed some more.

The little blonde girl had asthma, and she was struggling breathing and she began to pass out, so the little brown haired girl would sing and pray louder while she was pushing her back as hard as her little 8 year old body could push against the top of the freezer, trying to get precious air for her best friend.

The blonde girl’s asthma overcame her and she passed out, while the brown haired girl would pass out and then wake up and start to pray and sing again. And then she would pass out once again.
Meanwhile, the brown haired girl’s mother, who had been frantically searching for them with no luck, heard an audible voice from God saying, “Go to the basement!”

So she did. She heard the cry of her daughter and lifted the freezer door to find her beautiful dark haired girl barely breathing, while the little blonde girl was not breathing at all.

They could not revive the little blonde girl, but the little brown haired girl lived. It is a day she will remember the rest of her life. She will never forget her best friend with the beautiful blonde hair. “Safe with Jesus” was the theme of her funeral.

She does not know why God wanted her blonde haired friend to come home to Him so early. She doesn’t know why God wanted her to stay. But she does know this. Every day is a gift from God to be lived fully.

You see, that little brown haired girl is my wife.

There is a prayer in the Bible by Moses that says, “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.”

Here are some ideas to live wisely:

Stop and thank God, right now, for the gift of life.

Call, text or email someone who has positively impacted your life and tell them how they have blessed you.

Forgive someone who has hurt you.

Smile, laugh, sing…in front of a mirror.

Breathe deep.

Tell your kids how awesome they are! (Even when they drive you crazy.)

Listen to a song that brings back great memories and dance.

Turn off the T.V. and computers and play cards or board games with friends and family.

Pray for those around you and around the world who are less fortunate.

Look for someone during the day to compliment and encourage.

Serve at a local food giveaway.

Go on a mission’s trip to a place that is different culturally than where you live.

Exercise.

Eat a bowl of ice cream without feeling guilty.

Invite someone over for dinner who never gets invited anywhere.

Take a cooking class.

Visit a nursing home.
Tell someone, “Jesus loves you.”

Do something that is hard, not putting it off until tomorrow.

Sponsor a child through “Compassion International”

Be a father or mother figure to those who need a positive parental example.

Stand up against injustice.

Wake up every day praying the prayer of Moses, “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.”

These are just a few ideas, but you get the idea.

Never take a day for granted. Live fully. Live passionately.

Don’t let a day go by without telling those who are close to you how special they are.

Don’t let a day go by without telling God how thankful you are for His Grace.

I think often about how that brown haired little girl has been the greatest gift of my life, and 27 years later I thank God for speaking to her mother about the basement, and my wife looks forward to the day where she will meet her blonde haired friend once again, this time, serving and laughing and celebrating for eternity.