Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

In everything, give thanks. –Saint Paul the Apostle

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
--Albert Schweitzer

A friend and fellow counselor recently said in our therapy group, "Gratitude is a discipline." I don't know if I had ever thought of it in just those words, but I know it is true.

And for the past few days I have found myself thinking often of those earliest celebrators of what we call Thanksgiving Day. They had left behind their homes, lost family and friends to the long journey and to the dangers and diseases of the new land they called home.

I would love to know just how their decision to feast and give thanks came to be made. I'm certain they felt relief and gratitude to have made it through the winter and to still be alive. But I'm equally certain they were still grieving the ones they had lost, and wondering how long they themselves would be able to survive.

I cannot help but believe that one reason we have a holiday like this, is that those early settlers were people of a particular kind of faith. A faith that did not give empty promises, a faith that did not see man as the measure of all things. A faith that prepared them for struggle. A faith that encouraged the discipline of gratitude in the midst of trials.

May God give me grace to live by this same disciplined faith. Happy Thanksgiving Day!

1 comment:

Lucy said...

made me think of something Zhoen said over at hers, that gratitude needs to be practised to be felt, not felt to be practised.
Yet that spontaneous unexpected feeling of gratitude that comes unbidden is one of the things in life which I feel does cast a God-shaped shadow...