Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
                                Psalm 100:4

Today, our Christmas tree went up.  It is a tradition in our family that this happens during the Thanksgiving holiday.  This small act of decoration ushers in the season.  Thanksgiving seems to open the door to the bigger and more celebrated Christmastime.

But it isn’t a good idea to pass through too quickly.  Thanksgiving deserves for us to pause for a moment.  Experience fully the gifts that this day brings, though they don’t come wrapped in shiny paper.  I hope it goes without saying, but it is good to give thanks.

There is much to be thankful for.  We give thanks for the year that is past and for all that it brought to us, blessings and challenges.  We express gratitude for the lovely, spirit-filled season that is to come.  Most of all, we give thanks for the purpose for that season; for the baby whose appearance in the world gave us the greatest reason of all to celebrate.

My personal thanksgiving list is long.  I am grateful for family, friends and church.  For having plenty in the way of food and shelter.  I am deeply thankful for traditions, especially the ones that come around this time of year; the big ones we all share as well the personal ones.  They offer a sense of belonging, of finding my place in our unfathomable universe.  I am profoundly grateful for Grace, for second chances – and third and fourth ones as well.  I am thankful for the spirit that allows us to grow, to be become better, to draw closer to God.  These are indeed gifts.

I am grateful for you.  Yes, you.  That you spend some of your valuable time reading the words that I post here is a gift beyond measure.  I pray that Grace will abound in your heart in the form of gratitude this season.

Making a list is a great thing.  It reminds us to be thankful when we all too easily forget.  The longer I practice it, though, the more I realize that gratitude is as much a necessity as breathing, and not just for the items in my inventory.  In gratefulness, we are reminded that difficulty is fleeting; that situations can change.  The good ultimately lasts if we make friends with it and invite it to stick around.  When we remember all that is good, the good becomes a part of who we are and it lingers through each day.  That is a blessed way to live.

May you enjoy the blessings of gratitude this Thanksgiving!

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