Gratitude is the sign of noble souls, Aesop wrote.
Gratitude is a symbol of our response to God for His love and mercy. It is also a sign of our dependence upon others. We need one another. We are not independent from each other, rather we are inexorably intertwined with God and each other.
Willis King suggested that gratitude is from the same root word as grace, which signifies the free and boundless mercy of God. Thanksgiving is from the same root word as think, so that to think is to thank.
Paul said, In everything give thanks ... for this is the will of God. David said, Give thanks unto the Lord ... enter His gates with thanksgiving.
Life itself should be a prayer of thanksgiving. Thank you, Lord, for family, friends and the world you created. You have provided for all our needs. You have made it possible for us to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. You have left water and air and food for us.
Thank you, Lord, for making it possible for us to commune with you. You did not create us and leave us to find our way through the complex avenues of life. You have touched our lives in so many ways and have given us the assurance that we never walk alone.
We thank you for your patience and love. We thank you for your constant care as well as your kindness and goodness. When our sins are many and our hearts filled with despair, you cleanse and forgive and restore us.
Thank you for the everlasting springs of hope that surge up within our hearts when we stand by the grave of a loved one. We thank you for the comfort you give and the triumphant songs of everlasting life that we will sing on the other side of every Calvary and every cross we will bear.
Thank you, Lord, for the seasons of the year. Thank you for the beauty of springtime. Thank you for the rain and cold of winter and the blooming flowers of summer. Thank you for the night, when we find rest, and for the day, when we work and serve.
Thank you, Lord, for giving your Son in order that we may live the abundant life. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to live and love and laugh. You have given us eyes to see the beauty around us. You have given us ears to hear the sounds of nature, and hearts that responds to the eternal tug of your endless love.
Pauline Stone reminded us that Little Things are truly important.
Did I forget to thank thee, Lord,
For things that may seem small?
A flower by the wayside,
A wild birds lonely call;
For all the daily happenings
That we call commonplace;
For autumn and for sunsets,
And a neighbors smiling face?
Life is made of little things,
So let me not forget
To count my smallest blessings,
And before the sun is set,
To thank thee, Lord, for every one
That adds a note of cheer,
And our blessings will be multiplied
Before another year.
Robert V. Ozment is pastor of Beech Creek United Methodist Church.