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This holiday season I find myself overwhelmed with mixed emotions. I see the children of the projects, living in or close to poverty. They are grateful for the things that come their way at Christmas.

We reach out to the children at the Foundling Hospital and it is inspiring to watch them sing and laugh in spite of their physical and mental disabilities. Faces lite with joy as our teams sing with them, play with them, hug them, and pray for them.

The smallest gestures are received with great joy and with sincere appreciation. These children are an inspiration to me.

The Other Side
On the other hand, I see those that are far more blessed materially. I watch them as they grumble about their circumstances and they disregard the gestures of love that come from their families and friends. It seems so hard for them to count their blessings and operate from a place of sincere thanksgiving.

They receive gifts as a matter of course and with a critical eye. Children with this attitude rip the wrapping paper off of their gifts with no lasting interest; they are already on to the next gift.

Gifts are given and received in this world with no connection. There is no joy or appreciation. The gifts, the giver, and the love are taken for granted.

A Thankful Heart
I'll never forget the Christmas morning when my daughter Danielle opened a box that contained a tiny puppy dog. Even at eight years old, emotion rushed over her and tears came to her eyes; she could hardly catch her breath!

She couldn't stop thanking her mother and me. It blessed me so much that I had to get her another puppy! Her attitude moved me to want to give her more and more.

As the holidays approach and you rush to participate in the giving and receiving, make sure that you truly participate mentally and emotionally and not just physically and financially.

Take the time to receive every gesture and gift with thanksgiving. You'll be amazed to see how attractive your sincere appreciation will be. People will want to give you more and more.

On another level and just a final note, remember to thank your heavenly Father. If you do this with a sincere heart, He will move heaven and earth to see you bubble with joy as you receive his continual blessings and gifts.

Copyright © Faith Exchange Fellowship
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Dan Stratton
Web site: Faith Exchange
Faith Exchange is a non-denominational Christian church in lower Manhattan, NY. It was founded by Dan Stratton, a Yale football star who built a successful career on the trading floor of the Commodities Exchange. His original church location was destroyed in the 9-11 terror attack of 2001. Today, Faith Exchange holds services on Wednesdays and Sundays, often featuring guest inspirational speakers.

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