Daily Devotions

Gratitude

A friend of ours read this to my wife and I on the anniversary  of our fifth year at Westminster in Des Moines. It is entitled, “Gratitude” by Joyce Rupp.

 

To be grateful for what is.

instead of underscoring what is not.

 

To find good amid the unwanted aspects of life,

without denying the presence of the unwanted.

 

To focus on beauty in the little things of life,

as well as being deliberate about the great beauties of art, literature, music, and nature.

 

To be present to one’s own small space of life,

while stretching to the wide world beyond it.

 

To find something to laugh about in every day,

even when there seems nothing to laugh about.

 

To search for and to see the good in others,

rather than remembering their faults and weaknesses.

 

To be thankful for each loving deed done by another,

no matter how insignificant it might appear.

 

To taste life to the fullest,

and not take any part of it for granted.

 

To seek to forgive others for their wrongdoing,

even immense ones, and to put the past behind.

 

To find ways to reach out and help the disenfranchised,

while also preserving their dignity and self-worth.

 

To be as loving and caring as possible,

in a culture that consistently challenges these virtues.

 

To remember to say or send “thank you”

for whatever comes as a gift from another.

 

To be at peace

with what cannot be changed.

- “Gratitude” by Joyce Rupp.

My Fondest Thanksgiving

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When I think of my favorite Thanksgiving, I think of my first visit to see my wife's family in south central Pennsylvania. My wife and I were dating at the time, and it was an exciting and nervous time, going to a new place and meeting her family. The tiny village she grew up in was beautiful, in a narrow valley between two mountains. I woke early, and took a walk. Across the street, and down a couple houses, there was a farm with all the family out front. They were in a long line, with a couple of huge boiling cauldrons. This city boy learned about “butcher day.” I was out cutting parts of pigs with the neighbors when Jill finally found me an hour or two later.

 

It was funny. Everywhere I went, in that area, people already knew who I was, and my name. Because I was dating Jill, I was already family. I fell in love with her Mom and Dad on that Thanksgiving as well. They were faithful people, who were extremely loving, and would give anyone the shirt off their backs. They were hard working, and cared for their church, and their community. I am honored to have called them family.

 

In one way, it is simplistic to say that Thanksgiving is about being thankful, yet being thankful is far too illusive. We are so busy, and striving so hard, we rarely take time to intentionally give thanks. Today, offer a prayer for the experience and memory of your favorite thanksgiving. Then, thank God for the special people in your past and present who have guided, loved, and blessed you. Each one is a gift from God. Finally, enjoy your thanksgiving. Make a memory, and be a blessing to someone today. Perhaps, years from now, someone will remember your love and care, and feel blessed because of you on this Thanksgiving Day. 

 

 

 

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