The Spirit of Thanksgiving
"To me, every day is Thanksgiving Day!" Is not this the vital truth that Paul of Tarsus was expressing some 2000 years ago? "In everything, go to God and pray ... and give thanks."
But why, you ask. It seems so trite. But appreciation does not unfold from the intellect, but the heart. It is much more than a platitude. It's an attitude for daily living that perpetuates the continuous blessings of God for you. It is a divine activity that emanates from deep within your soul, not a human desire to please the Divine. It is indeed fulfillment for the soul.
You see, thanksgiving is a way of giving to life, which brings the greater good into one's life. It is not a matter of looking back to determine if blessing or curse. Rather, gratitude is an energy in which one responds, and yes, in spite of the nature of what has recently occurred.
When Jesus received the news that his friend Lazarus was ill -- even dying, his response was to give honor to God. What an attitude of gratitude! In time, the Master arrived and found Lazarus in a tomb, having been in an apparent coma for several days. This prayer then flowed forth through his lips: "I thank you, Father, for listening to me. You always hear me, of course ... I want them to know you sent me."
God hears our song of thanksgiving; He listens to our voice of gratitude. Jesus had been guided by the inner spirit to arrive at just the right time -- to disclose that Lazarus was still alive! Too early or too late would have meant failure.
A gracious heart avails one to remain open to a greater good, whereas, a belief in injustice, or a reaction of self-pity, closes off the channels to life's greater blessings.
Truly, a special day can remind us all of the benefits of a grateful heart. As the Master "looked forward to sharing with a deep longing" the Passover meal with his disciples, so I eagerly anticipate our annual Thanksgiving Eve Service, and you and I shall share together in our communion ceremony.
"He took a glass of wine, and when he
had thanked God for it, he said, 'Take
this and share it with each other.' "
"Then he took a loaf of bread; and when he had
thanked God for it, he broke it, and he gave it
to them, saying ... 'do this to remember me.' "
In our time of sharing, we shall honor God and give thanks for the blessings of another year gone past through our 'leaves of gratitude' activity. But it shall likewise be a signpost for a glorious year that lies before us. We shall toast our tomorrows with fulfillment as we live life fully today, and every day, in the spirit of thankfulness and loving gratitude.
Authored by Reverend Virgil Brewer at Unity Chapel
November 1, 2003