How many ways can you think of to say, “thank you”? Worship for the month of November will focus on thankfulness and the things we can be thankful for. Each week will address a different aspect of our relationship with God. Preparing for this series has led me to examine my life for the times when I have experienced the touch of God and the ways that I responded.
To say that my life has always been a bed of roses is laughable. Thankfully, this is not a confession so I don’t have to reveal how many incidents were my fault. At the same time, it would be incorrect to say that I have not experienced many blessings along the way; again, not because of something I did, or did not do. This is probably true of your life, too.
Helping my granddaughters to develop the practice of saying, “thank you” has reminded me of my own journey. Needing to be thankful in a world that seems to worship self-reliance can be difficult to understand. The sense of entitlement can also make us wonder why we should be expected to express thankfulness. Yet, it is an aspect of love that binds us together. It helps us to form groups that nourish and support its members. It helps us in our need and it gets us outside of ourselves.
Rick Warren, noted pastor and author, opened his book, The Purpose Driven Life, with these words: “It is not about you.” Instead, it is all about God. While we love the sense of thankfulness that goes with Thanksgiving Day, we cannot fully appreciate the day until we come to grips with the truth that all we have is the result of God’s blessing. Regardless of what we may be experiencing in our lives, God is there to celebrate with us or mourn with us; laugh with us or cry with us; run with us or carry us when our strength is gone.
The Spirit of Christmas Present in Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, calls to Scrooge to “Come and know me better.” When we get to know God, we find the one who always has us close to God’s heart. We grow, then, to understand the events of life are invitations to get to know God better. With that reality before us, we learn to rely more and more on God’s presence—even to desire it.
My prayer is that as we explore the things we are most thankful for, we will see ways to invite others to experience God’s gifts and join with us in thankful worship and praise. Start a new practice with me this month and say, “thank you” every day to someone who least expects it. It just might change a life. See you Sunday and bring a friend.
Grace and peace,