Last night our family (at least the small remnant that still lives at home) went to a Gratitude Service at our church. I remember the first service like this we attended – it was held on the eve of Thanksgiving. A portion of the service was to sing songs of thanksgiving to God for who he is and all he had done. There were also open microphones set up in a few places and people got up slowly but surely to share what they were grateful for.
I remember thinking that the eve of Thanksgiving didn’t seem like the most convenient time to take a break and go to church, after all there were pies to ready and stuffing to make, among other many details. But sitting in a peaceful candlelit service reflecting on and thanking God for all he had provided suddenly felt right, natural, and centering to my soul. Last night as we sat in that gratitude service, my heart was pounding – the multitude of blessings I have to be grateful for is stunning. I felt overwhelmed as I slowed my thoughts to truly consider some very specific things for which I am thankful.
This is the time of year when it can seem like the whistle has blown and we’re off and running, running , running. Planning this and stressing over that. Shopping, wrapping, baking, counting the days – and not necessarily in the Advent season kind of way, more along the lines of “I’m running out of time and still have so much to do” kind of way. I’m intentionally going to take some time to just “be” even in the midst of all I will also need to “do” over these next 30+ days.
This week I am encouraging you and me to intentionally take some time (that we are sure we don’t have) to really pause. Take some time and space to feel the gratitude that already exists within us; sometimes I’m so busy fluttering around in this life that I find myself many times acknowledging but not really feeling gratitude. I felt it last night – and it centered me once more.
At some points this season may we each find ourselves centered and grounded while much (even the very hard stuff that we do not understand) swirls around us. May you and I make a way to speak our grateful thoughts out loud and express them to each other, as well as to the Lord.