“I quit!” I declared, expressing my unsettled sentiment about the day, the week, the month, the season. Not only did everyone I talked to that day have issues of great grief, which were compounded by the season of “happy holiday”, but my own physically weariness was overwhelming.
“Tis the season to be Jolly, Fa-la,la….”
For many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of struggle through a desperate, dark season of sorrow and pain. Can thanks-giving be possible as we experience life’s losses?
Healing through grief requires an expanded perspective. We have a choice, to focus on what we are missing by our loss or to open our focus to include the reality of God’s presence.
“Gratitude provides a window to a windowless room…God asks us to show Him gratitude in the dark times of change because He knows that’s how we find Him in the dark. He knows that’s how we find the Light in the dark. The focus on what is missing blurs, and the focus on what is present sharpens.” ~Kristen Strong
An ordinary picture can be edited by color and light adjustment, creating the best version of the captured scene. Gratitude “edits” our circumstance, highlighting the color and light of the presence of God.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:16-19 NLT
Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. Do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:16-19 NCV
Trusting God’s claim on our lives, His adoption as His child, His provision through the darkness, opens the window to let in the light of His presences. Having an “eye” for gratitude opens our heartfelt trust in the loving-kindness of our merciful Father. We must learn to see life through God’s promises, not our circumstances.
Through the focus of gratitude the “eyes of our heart” can begin to see how God is bringing comfort to our world through the words, actions and presences of loving friends. The “perfect timing” of needed resources that are made available become gifts from a loving Father to support us through our time of need.
The Greek word for thankful in the I Thessalonians text is Eucharisteo.
εὐχαριστέω eucharistéō, yoo-khar-is-teh’-o; from G2170; to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal:—(give) thank(-ful, -s).thank(-s, -worthy).
Science has proven the value of gratitude which is “God’s will” for those who are His children. Neuroscience has pursued the benefits of the grateful brain. It has been proven that the practice of intentional, focused gratitude and appreciation can activate the hypothalamus, increase dopamine, heighten the immune system, improve sleep and over all sense of well being. Sign me up!
Science proves the wisdom of the spiritual practice of gratefulness.
The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life. Can we be grateful for everything that has happened in our life—not just the good things but for all that has brought us to today? Gratitude belongs to the core of the life of Jesus and his followers. —Lifesigns by Henri Nouwen
Fear is replaced by faith as we trust who we are in Christ. Our trust is strengthened by our gratefulness for God’s presence in our lives as we realize the reality of His Grace.
**But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57 NLT
The word “thank” in this text is the Greek word:
χάρις cháris, khar’-ece; from G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure,
The same Greek word is used as the word “grace” in the following verses:
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus[a] be with you. Romans 16:20 NLT
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16 NIV
Charis is part of the word Eucharisteo. Grace unfolds into Gratitude, which points to the Glory of the Grace of God in our lives. SO true gratitude, embodied in our lives, (I Corinthians 15:57) will empower effective action for the kingdom.
**So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. I Corinthians 15:58
SO I do not quit! I will embrace the grace of God as I am confident we will have victory over the losses and grief in our lives. I am grateful I can walk beside the hurting and witness the healing only the grace and God can give. GOD is GREATER THAN ALL I am grateful to be His.
A Prayer for Thanksgiving(from the Book of Common Prayer)Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.