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It sometimes just seems easier to complain, worry, & focus on what is going wrong than it is to celebrate God’s presence in our lives & to live reflecting a spirit of gratitude & joy, don’t you think?

Abiding in Gratitude: Part 1

Struggling to Express Gratitude Amidst Uncertainty

 

The month of November traditionally is the time of the year when we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Originally, Thanksgiving Day was a day set aside for us to pause & celebrate our gratitude to God our Creator, for all that He is to us & for all the rich beauty & bounty of the earth He has blessed us with. However, since its beginning, as the years have gone by & the culture has changed, the awareness & the expression of gratitude for God & all God has blessed us with has somehow faded & Thanksgiving day has become a day of family parties, feasting & secular as it may sound, football & parades instead of a day to pause & lift up our gratitude to God. There are undoubtedly a wide variety of ways to give thanks to God our creator, shepherd, & Sovereign Lord, but sadly with all the noise going on around us in our world at this time, that is just not where we are most of the time. I sometimes wonder whether we actually do give thanks with a thankful heart on that assigned day, or any day for that matter, or whether we have somehow allowed the; disappointment, fear, pain, anger, uncertainty & suffering that exists in our lives, to block or over-ride our gratitude for all the God given blessings we have graciously been given & now just feast & party instead. As we think about setting aside just one day a year to celebrate God’s blessings for us, it does sound rather limited doesn’t it?  Surely God our Creator, Shepherd, & Sovereign Lord deserves more than one day of gratitude. As believers in our gracious living God, every day should be a day to lift up our thanks to God with a grateful heart & to rejoice without ceasing for all He is & all he has given to us, for without God there would be nothing. So, what exactly is it that stops us or blocks us from consistently abiding in a spirit of gratitude & praise to this omnipresent, gracious God?

I assume that we are all thankful & grateful to God in our heart of hearts. However, although that is more than likely true, there is no doubt that there are times when we are just so encumbered & overwhelmed by human living that we neglect to show our gratitude to God, even when we do feel thankful. It sometimes just seems easier to complain, worry, & focus on what is going wrong than it is to celebrate God’s presence in our lives & to live reflecting a spirit of gratitude & joy, don’t you think? There is no question that life is challenging. There are a lot of things particularly at this time to feel concerned about in life; the virus, other major health concerns, wars, uncertainty about the future, the economy, broken family ties, grief & loss, loneliness, political agendas, injustice, etc. Unfortunately, when things are difficult, it is fairly easy to lose our way, & give into sadness, despair, fear, anger, & hopelessness & to forget about the goodness & grace that God bestows upon us.  It can be so overwhelming & all-encompassing when we feel sad & hopeless, that unless we make a conscious effort to think positively & to remember who God is & who we are in partnership with Him, we are all at risk for slipping into sad pessimism. Like a cloud surrounding everything we do, it becomes a way of life that smothers our spirit & takes over our lives. Sometimes we have to work at feeling & expressing gratitude & joy amidst the disappointment, uncertainty, & the pain of earthly life but it is possible & it is our calling.

 

~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy

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