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  • jferris

Giving Thanks

“I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.” ~~1 Corinthians 1:4

Paul always started his letters with a personal greeting, a note of thanksgiving, and a prayer for spiritual strength and wisdom for his fellow Christians. I marvel at the fact that Paul was in prison, shipwrecked, beaten, etc., and yet he remained joyful and thankful every day.

We tend to make a big deal to be thankful at Thanksgiving. Growing up, it was the one time our family said a dinner prayer. A few times we were asked to each say what we were grateful for as that question made its way around the table. In school, we’d draw a turkey using our hands and put 5 things we were thankful for on each of the 5 “feathers”. We didn’t do it every day. It was a “Thanksgiving thing”.

I believe being thankful is a spiritual muscle we need to use so it gets stronger. When I focus intentionally on this, I do find myself realizing that the things I usually pray regarding me, begin to seem less necessary than the prayers I can say for others who are struggling with so much more than I. When I intentionally do an inventory when I wake up about the things I have and the people in my life for whom I am thankful, it kind of changes the trajectory of the day. It makes me calmer somehow… more joyful…less worried about life in general. I have lots more “exercising” of my thankfulness muscle to do before it becomes a habit, but the changes I feel internally are worth it to me to go forward on this exercise program.

So let me practice for just a moment. I’m so very thankful for all the kids’ smiles, hugs, and stories that are given me each Sunday. I’m grateful for parents who trust me enough to allow me to help them with their child’s faith development. I appreciate so much a congregation, staff, and leadership that has supported me for 17 years. Mostly today I am so thankful for the volunteer staff, who over the years are the ones that make Children’s Ministries work. As I sit here exercising my thankfulness muscle, I can’t recall EVER a time that a volunteer didn’t show up just because they decided that something else was more important on that day. WOW!

Do you need a springboard to help you be thankful more than just one day a year? Below is a link to get things started as we enter into November – traditionally a thankful month. Thanks for reading! ;)

- Jan