Overflowing Thankfulness

A few years ago when my children were much younger, I read Winnie the Pooh stories to them and found a quote from the book that has made its way deep into my heart. Perhaps it was the way A. A. Milne introduces real life “adult” lessons through a children’s story or perhaps it’s the fact that I am really a child at heart living in an adult world but this quote has helped me to realize that gratitude knows no boundaries.

At the end of a story after Piglet has learned a very important lesson and he and Pooh wonder off into the sunset. The story concludes with:  “Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” It is beautiful to think that our thankfulness cannot be contained and is not limited to the size of a container, even our hearts.

Paul actually says it best in his letter to the Colossians when he writes “Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Col. 2:6-7).

How many of us can say we are overflowing with thankfulness? For Piglet it was the realization that gratitude stemmed from his friendship with Pooh. For Paul, and for us, is starts from an attitude of thankfulness deeply rooted in our friendship with God, in the person of Jesus.  But that is not how the world thinks of gratitude. When the world is thankful it is usually tethered to a fleeting emotion that is been stimulated by an external object or a life circumstance.  However, for a believer the depth of our gratitude comes from the knowledge and faith in a loving God no matter what circumstance in life we find ourselves—both good and bad.

This Thanksgiving, I want to call your attention to a series of prayers called “A Litany of Thanksgiving” that we prayed last Sunday as a congregation. This gem from the Book of Common Prayer remind us of every good grace that God has given us so that our hearts are filled to overflowing with thankfulness. Though our hearts are small and our days are filled with both the good and the bad, we rest assured that we are found in Christ. We have this one great hope in Jesus and so we are filled to overflowing with thankfulness.

Litany of Thanksgiving the starting place for your prayers around the table tomorrow. It is a deep well that you can draw from as your offer unending praise and thanks to God.

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

And for the blessing of this wonderful meal, that it gives us the strength we need, to do the work we are call to do in proclaiming your Holy name,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promise given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!