Grateful Heart
December 23, 2013 Vicki Ohlerking

Grateful Heart

December 23 2013

Julie Richard | Founding Pastor | Lake Hills Church | Austin, TX

When our daughter Emily was 3 years old, she was thrilled to give Santa the LONG list of items she wanted him to bring on Christmas morning!  The list was thorough, and included a Barbie watch.  When Christmas morning arrived, Emily entered the den with her younger brother Joseph and discovered that Santa had left a huge teepee, a shiny new bicycle, and a few other toys in our den.  Joseph ran into the teepee and checked out all of the other toys.  After Emily scoped out her new bicycle and some of the other goods, she looked up and said, “I asked Santa for a Barbie watch.”  We quickly reminded her of all of the gifts she’d just received and delivered an impromptu lesson on gratitude.  And, after she looked carefully, she noticed that Santa had carefully placed the Barbie watch in the basket of her shiny new bicycle.

Emily fell prey to the same JOY THIEF that attacks many of us, especially during the holidays.  She failed to see the MANY blessings that she DID receive because she chose to focus on the ONE that she DIDN’T receive.  You see, when we choose to let our minds linger on what we DON’T HAVE, we COMPLETELY miss out on enjoying the blessings that we DO HAVE!

In Luke 1, we read that Gabriel told Mary she was going to miraculously give birth to Jesus.  He also told her that her much older relative Elizabeth was also miraculously with child. Mary hurried to visit Elizabeth…

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”


If you think about it, Elizabeth was the perfect choice to be the one giving birth to the Savior.  She and her husband served the Lord and lived upright lives, yet the Lord had never given her children.  So, we wouldn’t blame Elizabeth for thinking SHE should’ve been the one carrying the Savior… not the unwed, younger relative Mary.  But, instead, her wisdom and faithfulness allowed her to celebrate her blessing.  Elizabeth enjoyed the blessing of her miraculous pregnancy… AND she celebrated that God had blessed Mary, too!  Elizabeth was secure and confident in the role God had chosen for her… she chose to enjoy the blessings God gave her!  So she then could celebrate the role God had chosen for Mary and the blessings God gave Mary, too!

This Christmas, greet the holidays as Elizabeth greeted Mary!  Be careful not to allow your mind to linger on the blessings you DON’T have.  CHOOSE to celebrate the blessings God HAS given you!  This attitude of gratitude will help your holidays stay merry and bright!