As I shared in my sermon at the outdoor services on Sunday, when I was younger my grandma always had us share what we were thankful for on Thanksgiving. I remember sitting there and watching all the food get cold as my sisters, brother and cousins shared the wonders of their bounty, naming the things that they were so thankful for, while, on the other hand, most of the adults were naming the people they were thankful for. This reminds me of Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 1:3-11.
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
So, this week, let us all take some time and lift up those people for whom we are thankful. We give thanks for a grandparent or parent who helped us grow. We give thanks for a neighbor who showed us grace, or coworker who always brings a smile to our face. We give thanks for the child who brings us joy every time we think of her. We give thanks for the teacher who taught us how to see the world with awe, or the friend who shared good times and bad.
We can also give thanks for the person who infuriates us but also helps us to grow. We can give thanks for the person torn by hate, who gives us a chance to show unconditional love. We can give thanks for those who help us see Christ in their eyes even when they don’t know him. We can give thanks for those who can be “little Christs” to us as we show them God’s love and grace through our words and actions. We can give thanks for all we encounter every day, for every encounter with another is an encounter with Jesus. For that we are thankful.
Let us pray. God of Love, thank you for those you put on our path. Let us see each person as your child in need of love and grace. Empower us with your Holy Spirit to live thankful lives. Amen
In Christ’s Love,