Like any good movie, scenes transition from location to location intermixed with character after character. As scenes and people change, the plot line continues to be shared. We are given the plot puzzle one piece at a time in hopes we solve it before any additional clues are shared. When the plot plays out like we expect, we probably think it’s a great movie!
The “movie” of our life continues to play out as we go from day to day. We in America tend to like the compartmentalizing of everything, and we even dedicate one day for Thanksgiving. One day to shop at the mall. One day for small business. One day for shopping online. Even one day dedicated to giving. With each day given over to the special events of the day, we see just over this weekend how far we have come since the focus was on thanksgiving. Perhaps we need to reconsider being thankful again.
It is amazing that people need a day to be giving things to people. After all, is not generosity part of the human script that we share what we have with others as we would like to be shared with ourselves? Is this not something that should be happening regularly without external prompt? Why are we dependent on the “wisdom” of others who want things specifically in one cubby versus the next? What if we were giving every day of the week? What if we were thankful every hour to minute each day? It would be amazing……if not completely able to blow you away!
Being thankful is an orientation. We are thankful to God when we acknowledge His creative power in our midst. We are thankful to God when we acknowledge His guidance in our daily events. We are thankful to God when we acknowledge the “little things” around us are not some happenstance or chance, but until His careful eye. If we haven’t picked up on it yet, we are thankful, when we acknowledge….
We do not have to be the ones who are in charge. We are not the ones who have to have a strong hand guiding the events in our lives we would ordinarily expect God to cover. We are not fooling ourselves into some sort of false reality here. We give God the credit and when the thanks are truly given to whom and where they belong, we are able to realize that it is in every event that we can be thankful.
More than a day filled with more food than we should ever considering eating in one sitting, to me being thankful means a constant orientation to living life under God’s protective grace. That means we are not the one who deserve the credit, but we should be the ones who point others to the one who truly deserves the “thank-you.” Again, we need to realize that it is more a way of living than it is a single day event. Living out lives to God’s purpose, we can show others it is truly more blessed to say thanks than take the credit ourselves.
The concept of gratitude seemingly surfaces once a year at or around Thanksgiving time. Not always successfully done, it surfaces because we are invited to eat a festive meal and give God thanks for what we have been given from the past year.
I think it goes beyond all that. The Pilgrim Fathers recognized that all they celebrated was the sum total of God’s daily benevolence. They recognized their very existence was completely dependent upon a God who would choose to be journeying with them daily. And at the happy feast to which all were invited, they broke bread and gave thanks to God…. together.
In this style of giving thanks, we see the model from which the annual celebration which we celebrate each year. I would draw more attention to the daily walking, talking with, and thanking God than reserving it for a celebration amidst turkey and football. It is that daily journeying with God that provides the most passionate understanding of how gratitude can work in your life.
Think a moment about your Thanksgiving dinner plate. What makes it onto your plate each Thanksgiving day? Is it the turkey? Pumpkin or pecan pie? Maybe those silly little crescent rolls you could eat 100 of at a single siting? If all we can do is enjoy them on that single day, we would. And we would recall how wonderful a treat was awaiting us at the end of the tip of our fork.
Why would we just eat it on one day? More and more restaurants are serving a sufficiently decent “thanksgiving dinner” with all the “fixins” on a seasonal basis as opposed to a single day journey into food bliss.
I guess the point that comes to mind is our gratitude needs to expand if it doesn’t move much beyond the Thanksgiving Day model. Is it possible to think of gratitude as a daily result of the journey with God? Could it be seen as a subculture of what God has already got in the works throughout his creation? Why then would we relegate it to a single day?
Look around you. No matter what you might be facing, be it difficulty, ugly circumstance, fair news, or good fortune, God has been, is, and will be journeying with you. God’s promise is to those who believe that He will bless them and keep them. He will shower His blessings upon them in all they do. They will be able to walk with Him sharing sunrises and sunsets daily blessed with the knowledge God is still in control.
No sense keeping that to just a single day. It isa blessing to be shared daily in our prayer life and in our daily life. God with us. Blessing us, keeping us close, and watching over us in all we do. In our recognition of all God is doing, recognizing His presence and His guidance in our lives, we most certainly can give thanks to God with attitudes that reflect the goodness and gratitude.
I know I haven’t posted for a bit. There are alot of things this ex-full-time-in-the-parish pastor has on his mind lately, but chief among them are the thoughts that continue to rattle around in my head. This has been coming for some time, so bear with me.
Ever since I was little, somewhere about age 7, did I realize that all of my Catholic friends had priests, nuns, saints, and their parents all in the way of what the Bible had to say about Jesus. Being introduced at a young age to Lutheranism, which at the time was more of a “we’re not Catholic” as a doctrinal base, I could not help but see that in some way, my friends were being forced to buy into a system where others told them what to believe and what to think about faith.
It never seemed to occur to them…
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