by Andrea M. Elston
There is always a mixed amalgam of feelings that accompany the ending of one season and the beginning of another. The end of summer is no exception. No one can quite capture in words the bitter-sweet emotions that come with the thoughts of saying goodbye to warm weather, vacations, and freedom from routine, with the anticipation of the upcoming school year: new books (does anything beat that “new book” smell?), new friends, new knowledge, new experiences, and new routines. Whether you are experiencing this yourself or vicariously through a child, this time of year can cause a sense of loss and sadness and even fear. I have found that the most effective way to treat these emotions before they take over is through gratitude.
Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians: …(Give) thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (5:20 ESV)
Be grateful for all things as a gift from God.
Do you see the people in your life as a gift from God?
Do you see the experiences in your life as a gift from God?
Thanksgiving is applying value to something and someone. Those that you value will sense it! That is why the simple act of applying thanksgiving to the people in your lives will transform your relationships.
Maybe this summer didn’t go quite as you had planned and your feelings toward summer have been tainted by illness, loss of a job, a sudden move, or a damaged relationship. Or maybe this season had some of the best moments of your life so far and you see the beginning of the school year as a force threatening to take away all that is good and pleasing and comfortable. Whatever your situation, I urge you to view the events of the last few months through the lens which God intended… gratitude. God is the author and the giver of life, each one of our breaths is authored by Him. As His child and as a follower of His Son, that is how we should live our lives.
A famous quote from Cicero states: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” That is comforting and convicting at the same time! If we are to see ourselves as virtuous, or at least aspire to be, we have to start with gratitude, and all other virtues will be birthed from it.
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV-emphasis mine)