I have much to be grateful for. But so often I focus on the things that aren’t as I would have them to be rather than appreciating the countless things that are wonderful. That is pride, which is human nature at its worst. The way to overcome pride is to cultivate the virtues of humility and gratitude. The way we cultivate humility and gratitude is by making sacrifices.
“Sacrifice” is a loaded word. Often when I hear it I want to run the other way. But we’re happiest when we are giving of ourselves and this is the essence of sacrifice. All parents sitting around a Christmas tree sharing with their families understand this.
St. Therese of Lisieux was a Carmelite nun who is world-renowned for her charity. In her autobiography, A Story of a Soul, she shared how she grew in charity and gratitude. She had what she called “sacrifice beads”. Every day she wanted to make ten sacrifices for others and she used the beads to keep count. Instead of making a negative comment or judgment about a person, she would say something nice about that person. Then she would pray, “Lord, I make this sacrifice as an act of love for you.”
This is a habit I am cultivating. I hope it works for you, too.
Merry Christmas and God bless you!