One of the things that I feel is the key to living as a follower of Jesus is cultivating a heart of gratitude. In our "more, more, more" culture, it is so difficult to teach our children to really live in a place of consistent thankfulness. Not just a cursory "yeah, thanks" but really understanding how very blessed we are just to be alive each day and to live the privileged existence that most of us in this country enjoy. Air to breathe, a place to live, food to eat, enough money to pay my bills might be enough to be overwhelmed with gratitude. Yet, we have so much more than that.
Of all the many blessings for which I will give thanks today, and on Thanksgiving, is the incomprehensible joy of knowing that God knows my name and pursues a intimate relationship with me. Even after 30+ years as a follower of Jesus, that still blows my mind. I have spoken before about one of my favorite names for God which is found in the bible; El Roi, the God who sees me (Genesis 16.) That characteristic of God, among many, causes my heart to swell with gratitude. Here is an excerpt from a piece I read on gratitude that really touched my heart:
Christians who truly understand and accept God's gifts of forgiveness and eternal life are aware that everything is changed—a new way has been initiated. Our human strivings are not aimed at getting but at giving —giving thanks through everything we are and do. I like to think of it as Thanks-living.
The great thing about gratitude is that you can't keep it to yourself. You have to find a way-a person-a strategy to express your thanks. Rather than seeking more for yourself, you live for others-which is exactly what God wants!
Each Sunday we gather at the altar to celebrate, together, all that God has done for us. We offer up the "living" we have done that week as an act of thanks for God's gifts. What a difference from grimly trying to win God's favor or to earn others' approval! Happiness, wholeness, holiness…it's all the same basic idea. We are so fortunate to be part of that Community of Faith to whom God has initiated a new way: the Gospel of Gratitude.
How will you let God know how thankful you are? That's really your only job-
every day. Think about it. It makes all the difference in the world.
I guess that is what I want to think about during this season of gratitude. How does my life exemplify my grateful heart? How do I give back or give forward from the abundance with which I have been blessed? How do I extend to others the same immeasurable grace that has been extended to me? How do I express to others the type of unconditional love that has been poured out to me?
Also, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that you all continue to read my musings. I am still often puzzled that you do :-) Revel in your blessings! Happy, Happy Thanks-Living!