Thanksgiving and gratitude

It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” —Luke 17:11-19, The Message

Gratitude… goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. —Henri J. M. Nouwen

There is a thread through all of Scripture, both the Old Testament and the New, that it pleases God when we are grateful to him.

Thanksgiving is an unusual holiday—it celebrates an attitude rather than a person or an event. A day set aside not just to stuff ourselves with food, but to find in our hearts a moment to thank the God who provides that food, and every other grace we benefit from.

God appreciates acknowledgment. God enjoys our recognition of his hand in our lives. He gives freely, without cost, without strings attached, and yet he hopes and expects that we will show gratitude, thanks, appreciation—that we will acknowledge the source of all good gifts.

Henri Nouwen speaks of a discipline of gratitude—living all of life, not just a single day in November, with thanksgiving to God. That is what Jesus taught, as well. When I live each day with an attitude of gratitude to God, my eyes move away from myself and my present troubles and focus on God, who is with me in my present troubles, and who has provided me with innumerable blessings that soothe the sting of my present troubles. I have much to be thankful for.

May I not be so caught up in myself that I forget to return to the feet of Jesus to thank him for the abundant (and undeserved) graces he has poured out on my life.

Happy Thanksgiving. May God our Provider be praised for every gift, every blessing, every touch, every word, every comfort—it is all grace. It is all love.

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  1. thanks, Charlie. it’s all about Him.