It's not a church holiday, I know, but there's something inherently spiritual about the practicing of giving thanks. This week, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving, a day we gather around the table; share our favorite food, stories, and traditions; and count our blessings. We'll reflect on God's good gifts in our lives: the gifts of health or healing, provision or guidance, good friends and neighbors, grace and freedom. We'll reminisce about years past - perhaps those who are no longer with us - and celebrate another year of love and life and laughter with loved ones, far and near.
How do we show our gratitude? How do make it a daily practice? I think the secret is embedded in the words of this 17th century German hymn:
"Now thank we all our God,with hearts and hands and voices."
We practice gratitude in our hearts, yes, but we should also show our gratitude with our hands, by serving and helping others, comforting those who are sick or grieving, and reaching out to those in need. We can express our gratitude in the things we say, in our conversations with others, in the songs we sing, and the prayers we offer. This is how we live lives of gratitude all throughout the year.
We come into your presence a thankful people, O God.
We give thanks for the gift of life and friendship and music, for the joy of a bright-colored sunset and the peace of a rolling river, for light and forgiveness and community. We praise you for who you are, God, and for all the ways you pour out your love on us.
We pray that we might live out our lives with gratitude, this week and in the weeks and months to come. Guide our feet in the ways you would have us go. Use our hands for serving and helping others. Use our lips to speak words of kindness and love and share your message of hope and peace with the world.
Help us to live as thankful people. With grateful hearts we pray,
© 2016 Ashley Danyew
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