A Gratitude Attitude

August 10, 2021 | Megan Schemenauer

Christmas Eve. My longtime answer to the question, What’s your favorite holiday? Not Christmas Day. Strange, I know. When I was younger, it was because I loved the feeling of anticipation: seeing the brightly wrapped packages under the tree, wondering which were for me, what treasures they contained. 

Now as an adult with my own children, I still love Christmas Eve for the anticipation. But I find I’m no longer anticipating gifts for myself. Instead, I imagine how my kids will react when they see their presents. Whether my husband will love the gift I picked out especially for him. 

I believe that our God also feels a similar sense of anticipation when it comes to the gifts He’s given us. And there are so many! We don’t even need to wait until Christmas! 

But I wonder in our current “me first” culture whether we take the time to really appreciate all the gifts God has given us. When I come to God in prayer, are the first words out of my mouth a request for more? How often do we come to God just to thank Him for the gifts He’s already given, no further wish list of prayer requests?

In an effort to improve my “gratitude attitude” and better appreciate the goodness of God, I wanted to make a list of just some of the many gifts He’s already given, not only to me but to every individual on Earth.

Gift #1: He’s given us life.
No matter the circumstances of our birth, we are not an accident. God created us, gave us life, and placed us here on purpose. Every facet of who I am as a person is because of God. King David recognized God’s personal craftsmanship when He declared in Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Not only did God create us on purpose, but He has a plan for each of us. Billions and billions of people since the beginning of the human race and God has had a purpose for each and every one of us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” That’s a gift worth celebrating!

Gift #2: He gave us His Son to save us.
The Bible is pretty clear on this fact: that everyone has sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This sin is what separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 puts it this way: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

Fortunately, our God is a most excellent problem-solver. Even before we were created, He had already planned the solution to this separation caused by sin: the blood of His Son, Jesus. “When you were dead in your sins ... God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

What a gift that God would sacrifice His own Son in order to give me eternal life! 

Gift #3: He’s prepared a home for us in Heaven. 
I don’t know about you, but I love my home here in South Bend. It is most certainly a blessing from God that my family and I would not have found without Him. Many of my waking hours have gone into taking care of this house God has given us. And yet, this house (and this body, for that matter!) is not my forever home.

Before He died, Jesus told His disciples in John 14:2-3, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

I am so thankful for the promise that, when this life is over, we have a future with Christ in Heaven!

Gift #4: He’s given each of us a special spiritual gift or ability to use on this earth.
I can honestly say that one of my greatest sources of joy after becoming a Christian has been the daily use of this gift: my spiritual gift from God. If you haven’t discovered your spiritual gift yet, it is well worth the effort to seek it out! 

The Bible tells us that we all have at least one spiritual gift. Romans 12:6 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” 1 Corinthians 12 outlines a number of different spiritual gifts, but all with the same purpose: to worship our God and to serve others.

Through prayer, the Holy Spirit’s leading, and by paying attention to the natural abilities God has given me, I was able to discover my spiritual gifts. The neat thing about spiritual gifts is that they not only bring us joy by using them, but they allow us to turn around and give them right back to the very God who created them in us! 

Life. Salvation. Heaven. Spiritual gifts. And the list goes on! I could spend literally hours just thanking God for all His blessings: my family, my health, my job, my education, my church, my past experiences ... But do we? It can be challenging in a culture that regularly presents the idea of “wish lists” to come to God and simply practice gratitude. 

I encourage you to try to go to God in prayer at least once a day with the sole intention of thanking Him for all the gifts He’s given you. This “gratitude attitude” could completely change the trajectory of your day. 

Who knows? It may even change your life.