“Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving to God the Creator triumphantly raise;
Who fashioned and made us, protected ans stayed us, who guides us and leads to the end of our days.
His banners are o’er us, his light goes before us, a pillar of fire shining forth in the night,
’til shadows have vanished and darkness is banished, as forward we travel from light into light.”
Thanksgiving is close upon us, and what a great and refreshing time of the year it is. If you’re like me, it takes me all the way to Thanksgiving day to really consider what I’m thankful for. Perhaps its because my family has a wonderful tradition of “passing the corn” and sharing what God has blessed us with in the last year, so the day-of I scramble for something to say! But what if I had a whole month of thankful reflection on God’s blessings? What if you used these next few weeks to practice developing a thankful heart?
Ted opened our brief series on thankfulness by helping us see some of the reasons why we may not have thankful hearts and lives. Perhaps a most poignant illustration involves agriculture. Ted used blueberries, but since I grew up just a few miles from the strawberry capital of the world, I discovered this same phenomenon at work in strawberries. The berries need just the right amount of cold weather to grow. If they get too little, their growth will be truncated. However, and perhaps worse, if it gets too cold, the berries will just die. In this case, farmers will sprinkle a light layer of water on the berries right before it freezes. This “insulates” them at close to 32° so they will be protected against much colder temperatures. Its fascinating, really, but it is often the way our hearts insulate themselves against pain by retreating from thankfulness. Displaying our gratefulness inevitably brings us into the circle of vulnerability. To be thankful we have to actually engage with real people, in real circumstances, in this real world. We must leave the distant past of’ “what things used to be like,” come back from the fantasy world of “what we wish life were like,” and simply live in the present. Thankful hearts are hearts thoughtfully and gratefully embedded in the present.
And so I suppose the simplest question for the day is, “what are you thankful for today, in this season?” This is why I love the first line from the hymn above: “Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving to God the Creator triumphantly raise.” It reminds us that, in God’s family, every season, for every living thing, is a season for thankful living. If it hasn’t already, may this season of thankfulness for you begin today.