“Gratitude – Recognizing Abundance” Nov 22 2020

Message

This is going to be a different Thanksgiving for my family. For the last 15 years my sister’s family, our parents, and my immediate family have gotten together at Thanksgiving. Over the years we’ve included assorted friends. There is always lots of food, conversation, and laughter.

After the death of my dad last year, our brother and his crew joined the mix. We borrowed extra tables and chairs from the church. We had a photographer take family pictures, because we didn’t know when we might all get together again.

Little did we know we would not be getting together this year. Due to COVID, none of my family is traveling. My wonderful wife, our two sons, my mom, and I will get together. We decided to order from a local restaurant instead of cooking a large meal. The five of us will eat a nice dinner, probably on my mom’s back porch. This is going to be a different Thanksgiving for us.

In this strange season of life, it’s tempting to focus on what is missing. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s okay to grieve the loss of those meaningful connections.

Yet even in the midst of a pandemic, I think that it’s important for us to celebrate and give thanks for blessings in our lives. How do we do that?

The scripture passage for this week gives guidance. It’s Moses’ “Thanksgiving Sermon” to the Jewish people as they prepare to enter a New Life in the land of Canaan. Moses reminds the people, “Remember. Remember the Lord your God. Remember the abundance with which God has blessed your life. Remember.”

Moses suggests that the key to a grateful heart to is cultivate good memory. French Bishop Jean Baptiste Massieu wrote, “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”

I think it’s crucial that we take time to cultivate good memory, especially during this season of life. For something deeply spiritual happens as we remember blessings in our lives: as we cultivate good memory, we cultivate grateful hearts. And grateful hearts overflow with Thanksgiving and Joy.

Join us this week as we practice cultivating good memory and grateful hearts.

Blessings,

Stephen

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