Daily Devotional

Simple Thanksgiving

On the second Monday of October my Canadian relatives gather for their version of Thanksgiving Day. It is held at a time that brings back fond memories of my childhood in Ontario--picking apples, playing in piles of Fall leaves and gathering chestnuts. Summer was over and Winter was on its way. The simplest of things often filled this city boy’s heart with youthful praise. I still remember clinging to my mother’s fox stole (with those freaky glass eyes) and singing in church:

Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.          

We are reminded throughout Scripture of the importance of thanksgiving throughout our days, not just on holidays. I love Paul’s summary in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Here he uses the familiar Greek word eucharisteo, from which we get the word eucharist. It speaks of giving thanks and calls us to a heartfelt gratefulness daily for the many good graces and abundant blessings that God has bestowed on us.          

Perhaps you are familiar with the old legend about two angels who were sent to earth to gather up the prayers of men. One was to fill his basket with the prayer requests of mankind. The other was to gather their prayers of thanksgiving. Sometime later they went back to the Heavenly Father. One angel returned to heaven with basket heaped high and running over with the innumerable petitions of men. The other returned with an empty basket and a sad and heavy heart. He sighed and said: “The gratitude of men toward heaven is a rare and beautiful thing on earth.”          

Although we often speak of the importance of being thankful every day, the fact is, many of us don't. Some of us don’t even know how. Some of us don't even know what to look for. As one man said, “If you don't think you have anything to be thankful for, look in the medical books at all the diseases you don't have.” But you know as well as I that a thankful life begins with a thankful heart...an attitude of gratitude! Take some time right now and list out some of the many things for which you are thankful. Perhaps, like me, it will be the simplest of memories that will point your heart to heaven.
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