It's been another brutal year at so many levels. The poison of polarization, distrust, and personal attack pervades our politics. COVID-19 continues to loom large over every day of our lives. Fires, flooding, hurricanes, blistering heat, and social unrest punctuate the year. How I wish we could turn the clock back ten or twenty years.
When imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote, "… be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph.5:18b-20, NRSV). Paul also declared, "I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:12-13, NRSV).
For Paul, a spirit of thankfulness made all the difference. He recognized that nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. Such a heart is cold toward God and indifferent to God's mercy and love. It is a heart that has forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything. And nothing does more to restore contentment and the joy within us than a spirit of thankfulness.
So, despite the challenges and setbacks this year, we will give thanks and invite you to join in giving thanks on the eve of Thanksgiving Day.