Words about Thanksgiving 2019

November Horses at Dusk (2017)

Words about Thanksgiving 2019

Thomas Merton
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.

Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

Annie Dillard
I think the dying pray at the last not “please,” but “thank you,” as a guest thanks his host at the door.

Ronald Rolheiser
Sanctity has to do with gratitude. To be a saint is to be fueled by gratitude, nothing more and nothing less.

Peter Leithart
Thanksgiving is thus the liturgy of Christian living. It is the continuous sacrifice that Christians offer. Gratitude to God is the continuous sanctification of the world.

N.T. Wright
A sense of astonished gratitude is very near the heart of authentic Christian experience.

Richard Rohr
Prayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise.

G.K. Chesterton
Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

Henri Nouwen
Gratitude goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Richard Beck
Gratitude, holding life as a gift, is key to the ability to love, the ability to give freely and non-anxiously to others.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!

Eugene Peterson
We wake up each morning to a world we did not make. How did it get here? How did we get here? We open our eyes and see that “old bowling ball the sun” careen over the horizon. We wiggle our toes. A mocking bird takes off and improvises on themes set down by robins, vireos, and wrens, and we marvel at the intricacies. The smell of frying bacon works its way into our nostrils and we begin anticipating buttered toast, scrambled eggs, and coffee freshly brewed from our favorite Javanese beans.

There is so much here — around, above, below, inside, outside. Even with the help of poets and scientists we can account for very little of it. We notice this, then that. We start exploring the neighborhood. We try this street, and then that one. We venture across the tracks. Before long we are looking out through telescopes and down into microscopes, curious, fascinated by this endless proliferation of sheer Is-ness — color and shape and texture and sound.

After awhile we get used to it and quit noticing. We get narrowed down into something small and constricting. Somewhere along the way this exponential expansion of awareness, this wide-eyed looking around, this sheer untaught delight in what is here, reverses itself: the world contracts; we are reduced to a life of routine through which we sleepwalk.

But not for long. Something always shows up to jar us awake: a child’s question, a fox’s sleek beauty, a sharp pain, a pastor’s sermon, a fresh metaphor, an artist’s vision, a slap in the face, scent from a crushed violet. We are again awake, alert, in wonder: how did this happen? And why this? Why anything at all? Why nothing at all?

Gratitude is our spontaneous response to all this: to life. Something wells up within us: Thank you! More often than not, the thank you is directed to God even by those who don’t believe in him. . . .

Wonder. Astonishment. Adoration. There can’t be very many of us for whom the sheer fact of existence hasn’t rocked us back on our heels. We take off our sandals before the burning bush. We catch our breath at the sight of a plummeting hawk. “Thank you, God.” We find ourselves in a lavish existence in which we feel a deep sense of kinship — we belong here; we say thanks with our lives to life. And not just “Thanks” or “Thank it,” but “Thank you.” Most of the people who have lived on this planet earth have identified this you with God or gods. This is not just a matter of learning our manners, the way children are taught to say thank you as a social grace. It is the cultivation of adequateness within ourselves to the nature of reality, developing the capacity to sustain an adequate response to the overwhelming giftedness and goodness of life.

14 thoughts on “Words about Thanksgiving 2019

  1. Seems as though you could pick any single grace or fruit of the spirit and base your whole life on it and all the other ones would come swirling around into the same bowl. When I think of thankfulness it touches so many things. It means that you are relational, obviously, as you have to be thankful to someone other than yourself. Humility is certainly in the mix as it is often the case that the gratefulness is shared toward a person who has met some need and we are willing to except that gift with appreciation. Love is certainly in the mix in some form as it seems pretty much impossible to hate someone that we are genuinely grateful to. If you just took that one statement from scripture, “In all things give thanks”, and fully lived it, I think you would have the whole of Christian living in the bag.


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