“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was “thank you”, that would suffice.”
-Meister Eckhart von Hochheim (1260-1328) German theologian, philosopher and mystic
Thanksgiving is upon us, and as is the custom for so many of us, it feels like the right time to think of all that we have been thankful for during the past year. It feels like the right time to give thanks for Creator’s lavish extravagance in our lives; for the love of family and friends and pets, for the joys and, yes, even the sorrows we have faced and grown from since this time last year.
It is also the right time to remind ourselves that Thanksgiving in not a one-day event. In fact, Thanksgiving is a way of life and it is what has often been referred to as “Thanks-Living”.
Last year, I came across a blog written by an American woman named Dana Tepper. On November 14, 2018 she wrote”
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. There is always, always something to be thankful for. Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around”.
As I re-read these words again this week, I was reminded that living in thankfulness is much like living in forgiveness. We don’t do it for the other person. We do it for ourselves because it changes us – it changes our way of dealing with the blessings and the disappointments in our lives. And, as with prayer - when we pray, we don’t always get what we think we need but it changes how we deal with what we do get!
Way back in the early 1980’s, I began my journey in Biblical Studies with the Hebrew Scriptures. Deuteronomy, which reveals much about the attributes of God, is also a retelling of the covenant between God and the people of Israel. (Start at the beginning I always say). Thanksgiving seems a good time to ponder the words from Deuteronomy 8: 7-20:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that has been given to you.
Happy Thanks-Living everyone!