A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a local Rabbi about the concept of Thanksgiving. He told me of a Jewish prayer that is uttered first thing in the morning. The moment one awakes and before one’s feet hit the ground, there is a prayer of thanksgiving for another day of life. Gratitude is an attitude and state of being. It is the doorway to joy.
The task for all of us is, “Can we see everything in terms of gratitude?” Normally when we think of gratitude or thanksgiving, we focus on the big four: Faith, Family, Health, and Freedom. For right reasons, we are thankful for God’s love, our core relationships, good health, and the freedoms we enjoy by living in the United States.
But is that everything? My rabbinical friend would say the real test is whether you can be thankful when the alarm goes off early in the morning, when the gutters need to be cleaned out, or when you have to pay your taxes? What about when you have to cleanup the kitchen, get the oil changed in your car, or wait in line at the grocery store? Can we be thankful for those things? After all, the alarm clock is a reminder that you are alive, the gutters mean you have a home to live in, the taxes we pay mean we live in a country that has freedom as its core value, the kitchen mess means you have food to eat, the changed oil means you have a vehicle, and the grocery line means you have enough to purchase food. As menially frustrating as each task may be, the larger lesson is to see everything as a gift that has been given by God.
This week I hope you will join me in this prayer: “Gracious God, help me to see beyond the surface level of things. Teach me the joyful lesson that all things are a gift. Lord, I want to be this type of person who is grateful in everything. Cultivate that spiritual trait inside of me. Amen.”
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