Wednesday, November 21, 2012
GIFTS FROM GOD
A writer’s blog entry prompted me to follow the example of writing on paper a blessing from God each day. I don’t need reminders to thank God for anything and everything that comes my way, but it will be fun to read each entry at the end of the year. A friend is adding her notes to my big jar that sits on my dining room table, labeled, “Gifts From God.” May you enjoy your own gifts from God, too.
A Grateful Heart
Thanksgiving Day is a day not only to watch football and enjoy a sumptuous meal with family, it is a day to remember our country's spiritual roots. The first emigrants, the pilgrims who had fled persecution for their Christian faith, suffered much during their first winter at Plymouth Colony. Most of them died of starvation or disease and those who survived suffered from the extreme cold and from hunger. By the next fall they had recovered somewhat, but not fully. They still faced many dangers, hunger, disease, and the uncertainty of the coming winter's provisions. Yet they set aside a time to give thanks to God for the little they had.
The story about the pilgrims reminds me of the people in Mexico I encountered while on a short-term mission trip there. Ministering to the poorest of the poor, our group offered the people small gifts—dollar store items like socks, pencils, toothpaste, and shampoo. To the children we gave small toys. Many had never received a gift before.
These people lived in shacks made of dismantled wooden pallets or cardboard, and patched pieces of tin. They pulled hand carts to get their daily water supply. They had no indoor plumbing, no medical care or insurance, no schools nearby. Most of the children could neither read nor write.
When we gave them their small gifts, you'd have thought they'd been handed a million dollars. The joy and gratitude they felt exploded on their faces and in their bodies.
That's what God wants of us, too—to explode with thanksgiving and gratitude for all He's given us, no matter what our life circumstances are. We have a loving, merciful God. We live in a country that is free of the restraints faced by many other countries, rich in the bounty that makes our lives comfortable, and beautiful to behold. How can we not be thankful?
As the pilgrims sat outside around their crude tables laden with simple fare, they might have recited Colossians 3:16. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." While we sit around our own table in our warm house and view the abundant food before us, may we too express heartfelt gratitude to God, our provider.
Lord, we give You thanks—not just today but every day—for Your goodness and love. Give us the will and desire and remembrance to always be thankful. Amen.