Receiving and Returning Thanks

pottery-barn-pic

Thanksgiving is often minimized in our rush for Christmas. Can you think of any pop culture Thanksgiving songs? Sometimes, I feel guilty giving thanks because it reminds me that I have so much when so many have so little. This season, I am trying to remember that giving thanks is a vital part of my spiritual life, and it helps me share God’s love.       (This display is from the Grand Rapids, MI, Pottery barn)Bjelland_St Francis

When I painted this image of Saint Francis, I intentionally depicted him both welcoming and releasing the little larks that flew into his hands. This image can guide us in giving thanks. We welcome or receive all good things as gifts from God. Then we release or return them to God with thanksgiving.

This helps me remember to thank and worship our Creator God, rather than the gift. This helps me remember that as a member of humankind, I have a special role to play in caring for Creation and One Another. This helps me trust God to provide. This helps me share the gifts God gives.

There are lots of great ways to put this way of thinking into practice…like inviting people over and sharing food, especially those who don’t have family to share meals with over the holidays. THANK YOU to all the people who have done that for me and my husband over the years as we have moved here and there.

In the next few weeks, I am looking forward to cleaning out my closets and thanking God for the clothes that I no longer wear (or can fit into!). Then I will return the clothes to others who can use them through a local Thrift Store. THANK YOU  to all the people who manage and volunteer at Thrift Stores, and all the people who share their used clothes with me.

These are two small ways that we can return all that we are and all that we have and all of Creation, with thanks and praise to God. As theologian Alexander Schmemann writes in For the Life of the World, in “receiving the world from God and offering it to God,” humankind “transforms…life…into life in God, into communion with Him…[humankind] was created as the priest of this cosmic sacrament.” This way of life is embodied in the sacrament of Communion. Communion is also called the Eucharist, which is derived from a Greek word which means #Thanksgiving. #Eucharist #Communion #FaithFormation #ChristianBlogger

Here is a lovely acoustic version of the hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God,” performed by Nathan Drake (Reawaken Hymns): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecqss2ZvN2c

Please join the conversation–What do you receive and thank God for? How/what can you return with thanks to God this season?

The Canticle below reminds us that we join Creation’s praise:

Canticle of the Creatures

(attributed to St. Francis)

All praise be yours, My Lord
through all that you have made.

And first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day…
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright and precious and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air…

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night…

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us…and produces various fruits
With colored flowers and herbs…

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.

2 thoughts on “Receiving and Returning Thanks

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