Pastor Bill’s Blog
(don’t forget that credit goes to Adam Thomas for his passages from the book A Thanksgiving Meditation)
Now we’ll take a look at the opposite – thanking God for things that have never been. This type of gratitude is possibly even more difficult than the previous kind because it involves stepping into other people’s shoes in order to appreciate your gifts and blessings.
When we stand in another’s shoes, we gain the capacity for perspective. Sometimes, it’s difficult to see things when you’re right up close to them and seeing them from the same angle you always do. To give thanks for something you’ve never had, you might need to view your life from that other perspective. Perhaps you’ll give thanks because diseases that have affected people all over the world for hundreds of years won’t affect you because you were inoculated as a baby. Perhaps you’ll give thanks because you’ve never known a time when your stomach was so empty for so long that you forgot how to be hungry. Perhaps you’ll give thanks because every time you slept outside in your life, you did so because you chose to – and you always had s’mores as the campfire died down.
For the next few moments, I invite you to think of something you’ve never experienced, something you don’t want to experience because it is unhealthy or degrading or worse. Now thank God that this thing has never happened to you. But don’t stop there. Recognize that the thing-that-has-never-been always is happening somewhere in the world – maybe next door, or a few blocks away, or across an ocean. How can you help make that thing change from an always is to a never again?
Thinking about Giving Thanks
November is a time we turn our thoughts to giving thanks, at least I hope we do. I hope we see beyond Thanksgiving being “Turkey Day” and take time to really give thanks for all that God has given us, and for life itself. As I planned this month’s article, I came across this Thanksgiving meditation that says everything I wanted to say and much more. Please take the time to read and act on A THANKSGIVING MEDITATION by Adam Thomas.
I would like to lead you in a guided meditation for the next several minutes. This meditation is about various aspects of thanksgiving, of gratitude. We will give thanks for things that have always been and things that have never been; we’ll give thanks for the past and the future; we’ll give thanks to God, who is always showering upon us reasons to be thankful. So I invite you to close your eyes, get as comfortable as you can without falling asleep, and take a few deep breaths.
Dinner at a new restaurant. Seeing old friends. Getting my slippers out of storage. I have given thanks for each of these things in recent days, and each has been something new – a change from an earlier condition or a recent addition to the world at large.
Now, I don’t know about you, but for me giving thanks for new things or for things that have recently changed takes up most of gratitude time. The new things jump out at us. They vie for our attention. The things that have always been there remain in the background, quietly making our lives comfortable or joyful or meaningful. Because the things that have always been don’t call attention to themselves, we fail to give thanks to God for them as often as we should.
For the next few moments, I invite you to think of something that you can’t remember doing without: it can be as basic as breath or your dog’s earnest affection. It can be the simple fact that you’ve always had clean clothes in your drawers or a hot meal on the table. Think of something you’ve never given thanks for because it has silently endured throughout your life, never calling attention to itself and never failing to make your life better. Give thanks to God for this something-that-has-always-been.