My Favorite Gift

I often get after my wife for having multiple favorites or "bests" of things. I tell her that having a "best _____" means that one thing is the greatest and all others are lesser. How can she have multiple best friends or favorite foods? It is frustrating as a guy that needs everything to line up and logically make sense. Can't she say I have ultimate and penultimate friends like the rest of us? However, around Thanksgiving I have to take exception to my normal "best" rule and say that I have lots of things that I'm the most thankful for.

What are you thankful for? My list is very long this year. There are of course the traditional things - friends, family, a home, a great church, my salvation. All of these are incredible blessings in my life and I am grateful to God for each of them.

Yesterday, as our family was talking about a few of the things that have happened in the past few weeks and months, I couldn't help but hear some music playing in the background. I love to have music playing in the house, and a particular song in my 10 hour worship playlist was humming in the next room.

"Even when my heart is hurting, I will trust in You... and when my world is shattered, and I feel all hope is gone, yet I will praise You..."

I was instantly brought back to 4 years earlier when this song had particular meaning in my life, when our church and world was shattered by sin (much of which was my own) and we had no idea what God was going to do. I was reminded of God's faithfulness and how we were brought low, then raised out of that valley with renewed faith and trust in His sovereign hand.

That's when I was reminded how thankful I am for music.

Music is my favorite gift (remember... I can have lots of favorites on Thanksgiving). A few simple notes can transport us from joy to sorrow, from the present to the past, from anxiety to peace. I love using this gift to encourage others in worship and to remind myself of the riches of God's grace. In the waning month of this year, music can be especially powerful. December is a happy month for many, but as families gather we can't help but think of those who are no longer with us. Maybe a chair is empty that was filled with a loved one last year. Perhaps finances are tight and Christmas is a reminder of all you need rather than what you have. December can be a discouraging and stressful time even in the midst of the celebration of Christ's birth.

So, this December I want to encourage myself, and maybe some of you, with my favorite gift. Lord willing I will post a different encouraging each day of the month. Some will be very familiar, like seeing old friends. Others will be more obscure, like eating a regional delicacy in a mom & pop restaurant. At one time or another all of these have brought healing and peace to my heart. I pray they will do the same for you as we approach the end of the year.

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed my with joy,
  that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever."     ~Psalm 30:11-12


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