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Thanksgiving season is upon us. Although, Thanksgiving should be year round, not a once a year holiday. Pumpkin pie year round! I think I could handle that! Buried in Cool Whip of course!
There is much to be thankful for; a roof over my head, a car that runs, heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer, food on the table, jobs I enjoy, friends to share life with, kids that call me mom. We could go on and on about people, places and things we are thankful for.
Is there a difference between being thankful and grateful? I believe there is. When I say, “Thank you.” It’s because someone has done something for me. A stranger held the door open at the bank. My son unloaded softener salt from my car. My daughter ran a few loads of laundry while I was at work. An assistant helped me find records I was looking for at work. The UPS driver delivered my new cell phone. Another driver let me go first at a 4-way stop. A neighbor invited me to a gathering. I am truly thankful for all of these things. And my “Thank You,” comes from my heart. The receiver and the giver of the saying Thank You acknowledges that you notice someone else doing something generous for you. Giving thanks is an important reminder of the gifts of life all around us.
Around a fourth of the books in the New Testament were written by Paul. Once Paul encountered Jesus, got to know Him, and was in His presence, he told anyone and everyone about Jesus. Paul and several other disciples were church planters back in the day. They left what they knew, what was comfortable and hit the road.
When I get a new book, I have a tendency to read the first few pages and the last few pages to decide if I’m going to read it. (Enter eye roll from my bookworm sister! 🙂 ) Anyway, when I read the first handful of verses and the last few verses of the books Paul has written, I sense more than thankfulness. There is a deeper emotion, a deeper connection with whom he is writing to. I believe he was expressing gratitude, an extension of thanksgiving.
A few Sundays ago, we were to go to three different people and say, “I am grateful for you because…….” and fill in the blank. One of the ladies came up to me and said, “I am grateful for you in my life and your support during the last year.” Melt my heart and bring a tear to my eye! Her gratitude was a deep, heartfelt, genuine appreciation for the connection she and I have made over the years.
Gratitude is a deeper, personal appreciation for receiving an act of kindness from another. When gratitude is given, the soul of the giver and receiver are graced with God’s presence and blessing.
Paul knew and understood the power of giving and receiving gratitude. Giving thanks or telling someone thank you has its own unique grace. Giving gratitude for a specific occurrence fills an empty well within.
The focus during this season is of thanksgiving. We do have much to be thankful for. We do often forget or dismiss the importance of expressing our thanks to those around us. Tell someone or many someones around you, “Thank you for …….” and fill in the blank.
I’ll be the first to admit that telling someone you are grateful and why is a bit awkward. You are sharing your honest feelings and emotions. That’s not easy for some. For some it comes naturally. Either way, awkwardness has a way of creeping in. Paul plunged right in with his gratitude and let the people know specifically why he was grateful for them. Pause with me for a moment. Who was the last person you spoke to? Think of why you are grateful for that person. I am grateful for my daughter’s spunky personality that keeps things lively around here. I am grateful for my son’s strength to move the freezer back into place. I am grateful for a dinner guest’s openness to get to know one another. I am grateful for neighbors who are willing to take an old broken dryer off my hands. I am grateful for the curiosity and persistence to get to know Jesus at a deeper level. I am grateful that Jesus loves me and wants the best for me.
I am going to pass the challenge on to you. Take a look around or think about a few people. Go to them and say, “I am grateful for you because…..” and fill in the blank. Notice how their demeanor changes, how your heart softens and the presence of the Holy Spirit is evident.
My friend, I am grateful for you because you take time out of your day to share a moment with me.
Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are in this gratefully together in Him.
Share this moment we’ve shared with someone else. You can find more blogs and podcasts at my website: http://www.mollimoments.com to share with others. Be blessed and see you next time.