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Posted: December 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Did you mean everything?

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Th 5:18)

Don't you just love opening presents? Shiny, colorful, crinkling paper tears away as wishes are filled. The words "thank you" are effortlessly repeated. If you want to hear a lot of grateful people, just watch celebrities as they climb the stairs to receive their Oscars.

But life is not always a party. Certainly, it is not the Emmys. Along with days filled with presents, friends and food, life has its share of trials. Fear, loneliness, and bitterness consume so many.

It's easy to feel grateful when things are going well. But God calls us to be thankful in all circumstances.

When life becomes difficult, uttering the words of thanks are the last thing from people's minds. The reality of job losses, broken families, and sickness happens everyday.

As I sit in the waiting room of ICU, I wait for news that the stroke won't completely incapacitate my mom. What words of thanks can I utter?

I'm overwhelmed, exhausted, and worried. The last thing that I can think about it is a grateful heart. As I begin to pray I feel peace. Then, I realize that I can thank God for the lullaby music that is played as babies are born in this hospital. I look around and see clusters of families and friends as they talk about their loved one. I feel so blessed that I was able to come out to help my dad. I'm thankful that I can be here.

Dear Lord,
You, oh Lord, know everything that is happening. Thank you for helping me understand that I don't have to do it all by myself. All that I have to do is keep giving you thanks.


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