Beginning with Thanks and Praise

This week on Jen’s Journal, I’d like to welcome my longtime friend and sister Megan Carter to the writing chair.  Megan and I have shared hundreds of prayer calls across the phone lines over the years, supporting one another’s families and walks with God. Megan is a prolific writer, a genuine friend, and a dedicated mother of three growing children. Her family is near and dear to our’s, as we have sat on back porches with them many times. Megan and her family of five reside in Southern California where they look for splashes of joy, glimpses of grace, and love making memories as a family. 

It’s an honor to welcome her to the Journal this morning. . . .

We are well into that first week of December, when many hearts are pitter-pattering with excitement, anxiety, anticipation, stress, wonder, distraction, peace, and tension. The Christmas season is upon us and can represent the greatest Light for some or the deepest dark for others.

As the season begins to unfold, I find myself reflecting on the traditions our family holds, the ones we want to maintain and where our focus should be.  A good friend asked me yesterday if I started my day with praise and thanksgiving.  I hadn’t yet, so that’s how I started my morning today. My heart did wake up with praise. It was an old song by Maranatha music entitled, “He has made me glad” —
I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart,
I will enter his courts with praise,
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made,
I will rejoice for he has made me glad.
He has made me glad,
He has made me glad,
I will rejoice for he has made me glad.
Understanding the source of my gladness allowed me to then give thanks. I sit in silence until I can physically write down items, events, and people in my life that I can be grateful for.
Whether you have a heart that is fully focused on His Light today, or you’re in a funk that you just can’t get past, take to heart that if Jesus is the source of your gladness the result will be a thankful heart.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5
God is good all the time.  Will you give him the opportunity to make your heart glad today?

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