Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude has gone viral.

Taking the time to be silly and to give thanks.

Gratitude has gone viral.  If you’re a Facebook user, perhaps you’ve noticed that your newsfeed has become a much happier place over the last few weeks as many people have begun using their status updates as an opportunity to give thanks.  People have offered up thanks for family, friends, jobs, churches, and health - just to name a few.  These offerings of thanks have pushed to the edges the usual status updates that tend to complain about, well, family, friends, jobs, churches, and health – just to name a few. 

What’s made the difference?  Have people’s lives dramatically changed over the last few weeks?  Probably not.  My guess is that the difference is primarily found in the fact that people, prompted by the Thanksgiving holiday, have become more intentional in looking for reasons to be thankful.  In other words, they’ve just taken the time to look beyond the surface of things (most of the reasons we complain are found on the surface of things!) to the deeper realities of life.  There, in those moments of reflection, people almost always find a reason to be grateful.  To our great surprise, these reasons for thanks often lie just below the very things we so often complain about (ie. family, friends, church, jobs).

We know it doesn’t take a holiday to live this way – or at least it shouldn’t take a holiday to live this way.  It does take the discipline of reflection and the time to see the deeper truths of life.  That requires a slowing down in our living.  When our lives are crowded, even with good things, we tend to only notice the irritations.  But when we slow down, when we give ourselves time to think about the people and things in our lives we leave room for the surprise of discovering gifts where we previously thought only frustrations could be found.

Take time today, to pause, reflect, and give thanks.

 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness;
   I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High – Psalm 7:17

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