Sharing with Steve
We have just passed Thanksgiving and are entering into the Christmas season. It will not be long before families are gathering and sharing presents and meals. We will enjoy the lights and the festivities. Have you ever thought that these two holidays ought to be reversed? Christmas used to focus on the birth of Christ and His coming into the world. The emphasis has changed. We focus much more now on ourselves and the gift giving that glorifies us and not God. What if we celebrated the birth of Christ and gift giving first and then spent some time in thanksgiving? It is easy to forget the attitude of thanksgiving during Christmas. It is a danger that we all face. I found an article that illustrates this and I would like to share it with you. The November 2014 article is entitled, “Opposite of Gratitude” and is written by Reggie Joiner, the developer of the Orange material for churches. Here is what he wrote:
I’m not sure how to make anyone feel grateful. My parents told me that I should be grateful a number of times, but telling me to be grateful didn’t make me feel grateful. Honestly, there were times that I felt guilty because I didn’t feel gratitude. I actually thought something was wrong with me. Why didn’t I feel grateful when I should feel grateful? Then at some point I grew up and made a simple discovery. “The emotion of feeling grateful doesn’t happen naturally. It is a result of the deliberate choice of demonstrating gratitude.” In other words, you don’t show gratitude because you feel grateful, you feel grateful because you show gratitude.
I know it may surprise you if I say I have a selfish nature. Are you shocked? For those of you who are pure in all of your motives and never struggle with your egos, I am sure you are disappointed in me. But I have struggled with the issue of selfishness for a while, ever since I was born. So for me, gratefulness is basically the result of overcoming some attitudes that can get buried deep in my human nature. These are attitudes that are the opposite of gratitude. If they go unchecked, they can result in a self-centered and frustrating lifestyle.
The “Never Enough” Attitude
This attitude is about our love affair with stuff, and our habit of being consumed with a materialistic mindset. It’s the trap of thinking that our happiness is connected to what we have, not who we are. We may tend to put more value on our things than we do our relationships. It is the reason why your children can get mad because they didn’t get popcorn when you just took them to the movie. We live in a culture that fuels this attitude, and it has the potential to crowd out living simple and grateful lives.
The “I Deserve It” Attitude
It’s easy to start believing that we automatically deserve things. It can happen to an individual, or a nation. It’s just the natural progression of a society that raises children who get whatever they want. Over time, there is a tendency to start believing that you deserve everything that you have. Think about it. Why should you be grateful for something that you are entitled to have? Why should you be grateful for a job that doesn’t pay you what you think you are worth? Why should you be grateful for your car when so many people you know are driving one better? We are programmed to believe that we deserve the best.
The “It’s All About Me” Attitude
Maybe you were raised in the kind of “child-centered” home that convinced you everything exists for you. It’s easy to grow up and embrace the notion that the entire planet somehow revolves around you and your issues. It rarely occurs to you that you should consistently sacrifice and put other people’s needs before your own needs. It is also difficult to comprehend that you have probably benefited in numerous ways, because others have invested or sacrificed to help you.
The point is all of these attitudes can sabotage your potential to be grateful. And more than likely you can’t “feel” your way out of them. You have to take specific action. You have to become intentional about showing gratitude if you hope to become a grateful person. If you want to battle the “never enough” attitude, you have to become a person who buys less and gives more. If you want to get over the “I deserve it” attitude you should do your job diligently, celebrate the small things, keep your expectations in check. What about the “it’s all about me” attitude? Well you can start by making a list this Thanksgiving of all the people that have made small and big differences in your life. Then write one person a note, or make a call every week to say, “Thank you” for what they have done in your life. You could also schedule some time to help someone else. Make sure it’s someone who can’t do anything for you in return.
Remember, you will never be grateful until you do something about showing gratitude.
Let’s make Christmas a time of thanksgiving.
ADULT CHRISTMAS PARTY
The annual Adult Christmas Party will be held on Saturday, December 8, at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall. There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer. We do need more appetizers than we do desserts. Everyone is to bring a white elephant gift to exchange. We will, again, be singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Plan now to attend this fun time of food and cheer.
On Sunday, December 16, we will be having a Christmas Breakfast during the regular Sunday School hour at 9:30 a.m. The morning service will start at the regular time, 10:45 a.m. Everyone has that special breakfast recipe that they enjoy with their families. Well bring that dish to share with your church family! Whether it’s French Toast casserole, egg casserole, hash brown casserole, biscuits and sausage gravy or maybe a fancy breakfast bread, whatever it is – let’s enjoy it together!! You don’t have a favorite recipe? No problem, bring ready to serve fully cooked bacon or sausage. There’s fresh fruit or juice, and as always sweet rolls, donuts or coffee cakes to add to the menu. Please bring everything fully prepared, ready to serve. A sign-up sheet is posted in the foyer to indicate if you’re attending and what you plan to bring. If you have a question please ask Phyllis Martin.
Our special annual candlelight service will take place on Monday evening, December 24 at 7 pm. We will gather in the auditorium to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Through word and song we will remember that night so long ago. We will share together in the Lord’s Supper and then close with the lighting of the candles as we sing Silent Night. This is always a special family event. Plan now to join us and rejoice in Immanuel.
PREVIEW OF 2019
I believe that we have an exciting year to look forward to. The theme for 2019 will be “The Real God.” This is based on a series of the same name written by Chip Ingram. This is actually an eight-week small group session which we are going to enlarge to encompass thirty-two weeks. Each chapter will become a four-week sermon series. The eight parts will be: (1) Seeking God, (2) The Goodness of God, (3) The Sovereignty of God, (4) The Holiness of God, (5) The Wisdom of God, (6) The Justice of God, (7) The Love of God, and (8) The Faithfulness of God. Our approach will be a little different this year. The first sermon of each four-week series will be a video of Chip Ingram teaching the lesson on the topic. All of these videos are available through Right Now Media. The next three sermons will be from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and then a concluding sermon. There are other materials that we are going to make available that will augment this series. We believe that this will be a blessing to Meadowbrook and to each of us individually. If you have any questions please see Steve or one of the elders. Please be praying that God will use this to help us grow to maturity in Christ.
2019 CALENDARS ARE AVAILABLE
2019 calendars are now available on the table in the foyer. These calendars are provided by several local businesses and are free for you to take. Information specific to Meadowbrook is included.
Karen Parrett – December 4
Brad Koster – December 16
Ed & Karen Parrett (Ann.) – December 21
Karen Robinson – December 21
Darrell & Jean Cox (Ann.) – December 22
Brandy Cox – December 23
Cindy Gerstenlauer – December 25
Matt & Brenda Cox (Ann.) – December 27
Jerri Gilbert – December 29
Jean Cox – December 30