I’ve been wondering what makes the difference.
Gratitude for the blessings in our lives is almost universally praised by people of faith. We recognize gratitude as a virtue every Sunday when we give thanks for all we have received.
“This is the day we have been given. Let us rejoice in it and be glad,” are the words with which we end worship each Sunday.
But in a season when so much around us is in danger of being lost, it can be hard to get to thanks. When personal challenges and the political dramas of the world make optimism hard to sustain, it can even feel selfish to center on our blessings.
Yet gratitude can encourage a feeling of abundance, including abundance of the resources, both personal and spiritual, that allow us to deal with the challenges of our lives. Gratitude can empower energy to “keep on keepin’ on.” Gratitude can empower energy to work for change.
More and more, these days, I am finding my answer not in theory but in practice. If I pray for, or promise myself, or expect my gratitude to give me energy rather than contentment or self-satisfaction, somehow it does.
Perhaps this is the universe reminding me that there is no guarantee that the power of love will overcome the love of power…but there is that possibility. Perhaps the universe is trying to remind me, and remind us, that trust in love cannot be proven to be wise. Only living as if love were real can begin to make it so.
That is why what we do is called faith.
For this Thanksgiving holiday, I share with you a short prayer by Rev. Bob Doss. It ends with my second-favorite benediction:
When Giving Thanks Comes Hard
By Robert Mabry Doss
“When giving thanks comes hard for you,
And things are grim,
And hope runs thin,
Despair’s a door to pass on through,
And not a home for living in.
When thanksgiving fills your cup,
And those you love are all about,
Look at your blessings, count them up,
And give back something to the world
Go in peace.
Go for peace.
For all who see God,
May God go with you.
For all who embrace life,
May life return your affection.
For all who seek a right path,
May a way be found…
And the courage to take it
Step by step.
Blessings for this Thanksgiving Holiday.