The table groaned under the weight of the fare upon it. Roasted turkey, golden and crispy with a ruby red collar of cranberries. Gravy boats brimming with creamy and silky caramel-brown sauce. A tumble of glistening steamed vibrant carrots and French beans with tanned almond slices. Brussel sprouts piled high with crispy bacon chips. Mounds of steaming creamy-soft whipped potatoes. Heads bowed as Grace was said. “Amen.” Platters were passed around the table, and each of the many plates filled as we expressed gratitude for someone, something or some event in our lives. Oh Father! Really! How utterly blessed we are!
Amidst the clatter and chatter of the clean-up following, I was struck with the thought: Why do we thank?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Yes indeed, we thank as an expression in word, or in act, in gratitude for a provision of some kind. In fact, we’ve been taught since knee-high-to-a-chick to always remember to thank. And so we should, I believe. But I’ve come to think for reasons more than just being polite. And yes, there are a whole host of benefits that accompany thankfulness. In fact, according to Amy Morin, contributor to Forbes Magazine, scientific research has proven that there is definitive physical, social, physiological and psychological benefits to thankfulness (http://bit.ly/2coJ6ay): better sleep, increased empathy and reduced aggression, and of course, better relationships to name just a few. I wonder though if all these benefits aren’t birthed of something more going on; something supernal that erupts from inner recesses of the garden of our spirits and souls.
I wonder. What is really happening, what is really going on when we express what bubbles up from our deeps, or act upon what fires up our hands and feet to move to thank? Could gratitude and thankfulness actually be a form of transcending affirmation of holy connection, of existing relationship with our Father, an offering of worship, that unbeknownst to us, is sparkling and bobbing to the surface? Could it be that these cousins of joy very directly connect us with our Gardener, our God, our Father? Could we be travelling a glistening road toward a more rounded, organic and complete relationship with Him when we thank?
Gratitude must be birthed somewhere, must originate deep in the belly of our being, our spirits. And expressing it, just as key to ignition, must somehow discharge a spark that animates a hum that mysteriously breathes more life into, and expands to fill, the furnace of our faith, enlarging our spirits and beings with inexplicable joy and praise and wonder. And if we fan the flicker and flame of thankfulness, I wonder if it doesn’t also crowd out, or even extinguish self-righteousness, selfish expectation and entitlement, and other sinful attitudes that could infect, damage and sabotage.
Could there then be hidden within thankfulness blessing and nourishment not only for the receiver, but the giver as well?
To remain grateful, it would appear, helps our hearts and mind to avoid hardening, to slip and slide on arrogance head-long into judgement and self-centredness. Thankfulness, it seems to me, shifts the focus from my self-seeking planned-out wants that elude me over there in the distance, to remaining rooted in the present and its many many blessings. Gratitude and thankfulness keeps my heart in the now-relationship with God, and keeps me from veering onto the harmful byways that eventually steal my peace away.
And what about when, but all outward appearances, it makes no worldly sense at all to be thankful, to express an iota of gratitude? Could it possibly be that my spirit and faith expand even more when I choose to be gracious in the midst of those circumstances? Could it be that gratitude and thankfulness is actually a facet of the diamond that is faith, and in those moments of tethering to the power of unseen belief, that power sweeps us up above the circumstances to live in confidence, (in victory?) whatever the outcome? Could it also then … make it easier to forgive?
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
(Colossians 3: 15)
Let your roots grow down in him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Choosing to be grateful and to have a thankful heart must benefit the growth of the sacred within, which can’t help but permeate outward into our bodies, and manifest as an inviting fragrance beyond. It must open wide communication with our Gardener, connecting us and augmenting our part of relationship with Him, nourishing our fellowship with Him.
And I wonder if there isn’t joint joy found in appreciating and sharing in the delight of His provision, in experiencing His captivating gladness and pleasure in providing for us, and we in our delight and thankfulness to receive.
Oh friends! Let’s tiptoe onto the dance floor of the mystery of thankfulness in a position of shared thrill with our Gardener to dance close and tender, with newfound nearness and rapport with Him! Let’s take His outstretched Hand as He sweeps us up in His delighted and lavishing Love as we offer our little gestures of recognition of His incredible Grace! Let’s share in His joy and pleasure, His captivating gladness in providing for us!
Let us always be thankful – and grateful!
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.
Soil and Seed