Blessings! Sisters and Brothers,
In America, the holiday season is upon us. This season affords us an excellent opportunity to transform a lot of lives, perhaps even our own life, from one of griping and dissatisfaction to lives of joy and gratitude. But on November 26th, the day that is set aside specifically to “give thanks”, will we, whether gathering together with family and friends or perhaps are simply alone, remember to do more than eat a meal and watch football and/or make a mad dash for the mall? After all, Thanksgiving is much more than a holiday event. It is more a condition of a grateful heart wherein we are at all times mindful of the blessings bestowed upon us by our Creator.
Gratitude is believed to be one of the most powerful and simplest of all the spiritual tools available to us. Meister Eckhart (medieval German theologian and philosopher) said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”. Thankfulness can be practiced by anyone at anytime, anywhere. Every time we stop and reflect and feel gratitude, we are nourished, in body and in spirit. Even more, studies conducted over the past decade indicate that when we are grateful we have more energy, optimism, social connections and happiness than those who are not. The studies went on to say that we’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or addictive. When we are grateful, we earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.
For that reason, even if the circumstances of our lives are not the best and may in fact be downright bad, still, we should look for something to be thankful for. ALWAYS there is something positive for which we can be thankful! Therefore, let us minimally give thanks for: that in America we are alive and relatively safe from terrorism and threats of war; the uniqueness, in which we are created in our sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; good times past; the right of same-sexed couples to marry in all fifty states; and our collective hope for the future. And for those of us who gather this month at various “Transgender Day of Remembrance” memorials of those violently taken from us too soon, we give thanks in advance that violence and hatred is no more.
Finally, in our gratitude and our daily practice of thanksgiving, let us forever remember the words from the Gospel of Matthew:
(6) “31 So don’t worry about these things, saying, and ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your God already knows all your needs. 33
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be me.”
Yours in fellowship….Reverend Gale Jones, Pastor