Gratitude is important. Spoken gratitude. It helps us name the gifts. It makes us recall the graces. It shows the giver that the gift was noticed. It deepens the love between giver and receiver. It reveals to others the goodness of the lover to the beloved.
God commands us to be thankful, and not just in our hearts. He can of course read our hearts, and yet He wants our words as well. We're supposed to meditate in our hearts in silence, and speak of His deeds in the congregation, and praise Him in the gates, and sing aloud to Him with our whole hearts, and remember His works of salvation, and tell His words to our children, and preach Him and His goodness to the Gentiles.
I'm thankful for this God.
I'm thankful for a God who loves me enough to give me sweet things, hard things, confusing things, rich things, simple things, funny things. I'm thankful for a God who gives to the body and the soul and the heart and the mind, who created and loved our emotions, and who takes us, silly and noble, strong and broken and stretching, who sees our smiles and rejoices in our laughter and listens to our complaining and hears our pleas, and loves to heal our bruises and bleeding places and the aches that no one else can see.
I'm thankful for beauty in this world, and the mixture of fullness and incompletion that it swells in me. For music you fall into, for fireworks you feel almost more than see, for sunrise through dew and under cloud, for a congregation taking bread and wine as one, for leaves spinning slowly golden on a million stems, for eyes that look straight back into yours, for hilltops in a wind that pulls you like arms. Beauty - for how it gives me dreams and lumps in my throat, how it makes me forget to breathe, and makes me at once want to capture it for the world and certain that no thing and no person could ever reproduce this feeling.
I'm thankful for home, and a home that is mine.
I'm thankful for Bible Gateway and Facebook and Google and my iphone that help me through slow lonely times at work.
I'm thankful for family members who love me unflaggingly.
I'm thankful for life and even for death. For Maria and Jon and the life they have together, and the life of baby Francis, and the life eternal where we trust we will see those loved ones God has pulled to Himself. I'm thankful for their strength and for how they handle their weaknesses in this season of their lives.
I'm thankful for love and belonging and future. For Fraser and our 15 months together, the growing and the strangeness and the words through tears and the most comfortable silences I have ever known; the unknown of next year and the known of earthly forever together; the hopes we form together and the meals we create for each other; the overlooking and the looking after, and the many many things we have in common and hold to together.
I'm thankful for this Giver, this God, this Father of lights.