As I write this, snow blankets the rooftops and the grass. The sky is grey but the evergreen branches glow as snow collects in their needles. Christmas music echoes from a neighboring office. It is only mid-November but a bit of winter has arrived.
When the world outside is less hospitable, my heart swells with gratitude for a warm hearth and hot coffee. I want to make soup and read a book! At the same time, I give thanks to God for keeping me safe and warm, for providing for me the way He does. Not only Thanksgiving Day, but the week of Thanksgiving and the weeks approaching the Nativity of the Lord, are for me, full of gratitude and thanksgiving.
It is a season of gift-giving! We show our loved ones how we cherish them; but we also acknowledge the bounty God has given us. Two-fold gratitude. We give gifts from a grateful hearts to those who are special, and we recognize that all good gifts come from God.
After all, gratitude is the virtue that notes when we have received a gift. And we are entering the season of gratitude. So I invite you to strive to adopt an “attitude of gratitude,” to recognize the fundamental truth that all is a gift. All is a gift. This attitude can transform the way we see the world. We can see more easily the bounty, the great cornucopia the Good God shares with us. Then in turn, from this abundance, we realize that we have something to give, something to share.
Without the “attitude of gratitude,” our own lack becomes central. Our neediness grows. The glass becomes half empty. We can become anxious takers, believing that there is not enough for us and others. Without gratitude, we accept good things as simply our due. Without gratitude, we rob ourselves of the joy of generous giving. Even gift giving can feel compulsory without hearts full of gratefulness.
The image of the old man offering grace, ever-present above our table growing up, is a poignant reminder of the proper attitude. Head bowed over simple fare of soup and bread, the man is lost in prayer. He models thanks!
This season, I give thanks in a special way for the gift of OLPH. God has given you to me, to love and to shepherd. And I give thanks to God for you!
May our Good God assist us always to have grateful hearts!