I think about last year often. Though I try to remember the bright spots first, if I can be honest, I remember the ugly parts the most. The constant uncertainties were overwhelming. People were in pain. I was in pain. I had many conversations with friends where I shared how achingly weary I felt. Criticism had become my primary language. I was anxious, angry about almost everything and with everyone—including God.
During one of these conversations, a friend gave me some advice. When in painful seasons, do two things:
I listened. Every day, I wrote down what I was grateful for. And I worshipped, raising my hands in both receipt and surrender, praising the Lord for who he is and what he has done in my life. Did it fix everything? No. But can I tell you something, friends? It completely shifted the state of my heart and mind.
In a difficult season of his own, the Psalmist wrote, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you.” God is worthy of all praise—all the time. And when we actively express praise and gratitude, joy not only pours out of that praise, but it changes the way we view our circumstances. There’s no better time to begin practicing this than Christmas—a time when we celebrate the arrival of Jesus. Let’s spend our days rejoicing in the hope we have in him.