Psalm 100:1-5 (CEB)

1 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with celebration!
    Come before him with shouts of joy!
Know that the Lord is God—
    he made us; we belong to him.
    We are his people,
    the sheep of his own pasture.
Enter his gates with thanks;
    enter his courtyards with praise!
    Thank him! Bless his name!
Because the Lord is good,
    his loyal love lasts forever;
    his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.


Before meals, my granddaughters (ages 7 and 3) love to say grace. They each want a turn to pray and list as many things as they can think of to thank God for – trees, bugs, people, toys, food, activities, and on and on. For practical purposes, we tend to say “Amen” after several things have been listed. That way, there is a pause so the other one can have a turn to continue the list before we say “Amen” to eat. Yes, we stop them for logistical reasons, but should we ever stop remembering all of the things we are thankful for? Can we ever truly be thankful enough?

Thanksgiving is obviously a time dedicated to being grateful, but for some people, it just amplifies what is not so great in life. I’m sure most of you have heard of a gratitude journal. Everyday you write things in it that you are grateful for. Therapists may recommend it for someone who is having a hard time seeing any good in their life. It is helpful to remind us daily that there are good things all around us, even when we are going through something very hard.

Sometimes those things are hard to find in a world that is full of stress, heartache, war, food shortages, natural disasters, and the list continues. I don’t know what anyone is going through right now, and I don’t want to flippantly say that writing a gratitude journal will make troubles go away or will magically make anyone happy, but I do think that if we focus on the good things we have for a minute, we may find some joy in that. As Christians we know that we have the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit within us – those things are guaranteed. We may not always feel them as close as we would like, but they are there. It says in our scripture that we are God’s and that God will be faithful and love us. From that starting point for our gratitude, we can then start to see other things – maybe just tiny things like someone holding a door for us, reading a funny story, or getting to our destination safely. We can just do a whisper prayer of thank you when something like this happens and it will expand our gratitude to being more consistent. Then we can expand even further to look into our talents and abilities and be thankful for those and in turn use those to help others. Then we will be serving God with what God has given us – ourselves. That is our calling as Christians – to serve God and others. May we be willing to open our eyes and our hearts to all that is around us to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Janet Waryck

For Pondering & Prayer

Do you have a gratitude journal?  As you start your day, remember to be grateful for the possibilities that lie ahead and as you end your day, reflect on the good and not just the bad. Be thankful.

Prayer: Generous God, we know that you have given us so much. Help us to see that, even in hard times, and to be grateful. Amen.