Director of Communications
“If you cannot thank God when things are easy, how much harder will it be to thank God when [life] is hard?” That’s a question author Hannah Brencher asked herself, and it caused her to reflect on the nature of gratitude, an appropriate topic for this Thanksgiving week.
On her website HannahBrencherCreative.com, she wrote, “I really believe good things are happening every single day. They pass us by without us even realizing it. A lot of times, our focus is on whatever is coming ‘next,’ and we fail to see the beauty God has set before us for this day, this hour, this moment. Just this morning I’ve experienced so much: another chance at life. A good cup of coffee. A chance to bond with my husband. A home that keeps me warm and dry…If I am not careful, I will consume all of this without ever murmuring a prayer or a response of gratitude. Today I am urging all of us: let’s not go another minute or hour without stopping everything to be grateful…Who do you love right now? How have you been blessed recently? Where do you see God moving? There is so much to be thankful for even if we have to dig a bit deeper to find it.”
A surge of gratitude hit Katie Powell Bell unexpectedly before Thanksgiving one year. She headed to Kroger’s with her two-year-old daughter to pick up some groceries. Katie got done quickly and scanned all her items in the self-checkout lane only to discover that her debit card was registering as “Not Authorized.” A store employee came to help, but with a restless two-year-old and a growing line of people behind her, Katie felt more than a little “frazzled.” Then, she got some unexpected good news.
The lady who had been checking out next to Katie and witnessed her struggles had paid for all her groceries but slipped out to remain anonymous. On the Today Show’s Community blog, Katie wrote, “I burst into tears, incredibly touched by the generous stranger’s act of kindness.”
Before you sit around the Thanksgiving table this year, take account of the simple kindnesses and blessings for which you are grateful. And if you need a prayer to say before your meal, here is one that I composed: “Gracious Lord, as many of us in this country gather around the table with our loved ones on this special day, we praise and thank You for the blessings in our lives. May we never take them for granted, and may we live with a grounding in gratitude all year long. For some of us, blessings may be hard to see because of struggles we are enduring with family, friends, work, health, or even faith. Remind us, Father, that You are with us every step of the way and help us to see Your presence always.
“Open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us: from the vibrant colors of nature, to the delightful laugh of a baby, to acts of kindness between strangers. Remind us also that ‘it is in giving that we receive,’ so that we can serve as conduits of Your divine love and bring blessings into the lives of others.
“Finally, Father, thank You for the gift of life. Help us to make the most of our days on this earth, so that when we eventually pass into eternal life with You, the people we leave behind will be grateful for having known us. Amen.”
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