In September I was returning from a seminary visit. As I crossed the security gate at the airport I noticed people lining the hallways. As a neared the gate there were more and more people gathering. That’s when I say it. A narrow space allowed a group of veterans, all in wheelchairs, to be escorted off a plane toward baggage claim. An Honor Flight had returned with the members of the military who survived WWII and Viet Nam. I found tears flowing down my cheeks at the sight. “Thank you!” Thank you! Thank you!” Words shared by those pressing in to see what was happening. Hugs given by those close enough to bend over to reach a passing veteran. Raised in a home where my dad and both of my brothers served in the military, I was touched by the scene that unfolded before me. As I waited at the gate, I found myself reviewing what I had just witnessed. There was so much effort and heart in the expressions of gratitude strangers shared with others.
Today I find myself thinking of that moment in time and wondering, shouldn’t we be that grateful every day? That kind of gratitude could change the world, I think. Who would you gather crowds of people together to thank? What would happen in your life if you lived with a deep sense of gratitude? I read these words, written by Max Lucado. “A grateful heart sees each day as a gift. Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on the privileges they have…Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff.”
What if gratitude became more than words shared with strangers being wheeled down a narrow passageway? What if gratitude became an adventure, the way we walked through the world every day? What if we looked for people to thank, and actually thanked them in that deep heart-felt way? How would circumstances be transformed if you gave thanks for the positive side of things rather than focusing on the negative? What would be different if a heart of thanksgiving found expression in effort and labor to bless another person?
This week is Thanksgiving. Let us remember to give God thanks. Then let us start ripples of thanks-living – deep and heart-felt – genuine – transformative – gratitude in action.
I am so grateful for you! Be blessed this day and always!
2 Chronicles 5:13 (NRSV) – It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For God is good, for the Lord’s steadfast love endures forever,”