The church sign right now says 4 words "Seek gratitude over grief." These words came
to me just before Thanksgiving. Grief is so easy to see around us and holds us down. I don’t
need to list all the places we have seen or experienced grief. Gratitude takes time to find. It
takes discipline to set our eyes towards the positivity in our lives and the blessings which sur-
round us. Even if it is something small, I hope we can find something to be grateful for and to
breathe that in.
I was out on a run right before Thanksgiving. I had a goal in mind that I wanted to do
and I missed it. My time was about 2 minutes slower than what I wanted it to be. But during
that run, the trainer I was listening to kept encouraging us to remember what makes us happy.
She asked us over and over to think about those things, people, places, activities that make us
happy. As I ran the streets of Riverside, I could have fallen into grief, anger and frustration. I felt
myself going that direction. My anger was rising. The frustration was going into my chest and
making it harder to breathe (which is needed for running).
Instead, I started thinking about those things I had in my life to be grateful for. My girls
playing together and showing joy. My husband coming home with a venti Americano. My
friends, close by and far away, who make me laugh. Quiet moments of peace at home. The list
came easily once I started. My frustration lessened. My anger dissipated. I stopped fixating on
the one thing that was going wrong and started finding those things that were going well.
So, dear ones, seek gratitude. We enter the season of Advent with expected waiting. As
Pastor Darrell said in his pastoral prayer on November 29, “We walk into Advent slowly.” Look
around, slowly. Journey slowly. Keep your eyes open for those things, moments, and experi-
ences which make you grateful and bless you. Keep seeking gratitude. Keep seeking hope,
peace, joy, and love.