Thanksgiving has come slow and hard this week. There has been grace (charis) as always, but dull eyes, tired body and dreary heart have been slow to see and give thanks (eucharisteo). Consequently there has been little chara (joy). It is easy to blame external and organic causes, working night shift, change in medication, lack of time, lack of sunlight. Yet the real cause is one from the will – lack of looking.
As John Piper says, “the fight for joy is a fight to see“, (emphasis mine). I have plenty that I am thankful for if I choose to look. If I figuratively walk around my life and pick up each thing that is part of it there is reason to thank God for all of them. Even the ‘bad’ stuff can contain reasons to thank God.
Recently I realized that the season I am currently walking through is quite likely part of something I was told will come way back when I first began this walk with Christ – over twenty years ago! In that single thought is gratitude for the wise man who spoke the words to me then, the Holy Spirit who inspired the words and brought them to my recollection, and the multitude of saints who have walked before me through the usual difficulties of the narrow way.
Another cause for thanksgiving in a season of struggle is that it forces me back to the essentials. The basics of living in Christ and holding onto faith, hope, grace and love. In a world filled with distractions and conflicting demands it is a peculiar blessing to be thrust into reliance on the basics, stripped of the fluff and marketing hype of a consumer age.
So, even in the span of 400 words to write this post I have moved from grace alone to thanksgiving and attained a measure of joy. Must do this more!
Gifts I have noticed this week:
473) A messy story encouraging me to just do the next thing.
474) Some time to read quietly.
475) Freely offering praises to God.
476) Getting all the washing folded while watching a John Piper DVD.
477) Finally fixing the leaky spouting.
478) Stewed apples with custard and ice cream.
479) Seasons; in a year and in a life.
480) Fear and hope at opening up to another.
481) Going to church after a night working.
482) Being able to draw near to God through Christ, our High Priest (reminded by this post).
483) A mild winter (so far at least).
484) This astonishing technological entity we call the internet.
485) Encouragement today that even in this secular nation souls hunger for You. (The Harvest is ripe)