November 26, 2015

Luke 17:11-19

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Thanksgiving! It is my favorite holiday. I love the colors, the way sky looks as each cold front blows in, the wonderful aroma of turkey and dressing cooking in the oven, the fact that there are no presents to buy and wrap, time with family, and, most of all, I just like the thought of a day that was created to remind us to be thankful!

As Christians, we must be a people of immense gratitude. We must discipline ourselves to give thanks to our wonderful God, no matter what the circumstance. Over the years, I have observed that thankfulness is contagious. Typically if one person voices words of praise and affirmation, the people around them will chime in with kinds words of their own.

Sadly, thanklessness is also contagious. In our pride-driven world, Satan wants to keep our focus inward. Even knowing all that I do about the importance of being grateful, I hate to admit that I have been guilty of being like the nine lepers who walked away from Jesus without uttering a word of appreciation. No doubt all nine of them were so overjoyed about being healed they dashed home in a frenzy to tell their family and friends the good news; saying thank you simply slipped their minds. But still, Jesus’ question in 17:17, “Where are the other nine?” clearly express his disappointment. I can see him shaking his head sadly at them (and at me) and thinking, “They should know better than that.”

The poem below reminds us to be overwhelmed with gratitude every day—not just for the “big” things but for those fleeting precious moments and tiny treasures that can so easily be overlooked because they are here and gone in the blink of an eye.

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We walk on starry fields of white and do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight, we rarely offer praises.

We sigh for some supreme delight, to crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way upon our thought and feeling.
They hang about us all the day, our time from pleasure stealing.

So unobtrusive many a joy, we pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives and conquers if we let it.

There's not a day in all the year but holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear to brim the past's wide measure.

But blessings are like friends, I hold, who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise while living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise of worry or of trouble.
Farseeing is the soul and wise who knows the mask is double.

But he who has the faith and strength to thank his God for sorrow,
Has found a joy without alloy to gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase of music we are living.

And so the theme should swell and grow as weeks and months pass o'er us,
And rise sublime at this good time, a grand Thanksgiving chorus.