This month we are exploring gratitude. It seems like a natural fit because Thanksgiving is this month and we know we should at some point think about the things we are thankful for. But, we are really looking at much more than that. We are talking about an attitude. A way of being. A way of looking at the world, ordering our lives as centered in Christ. Ordering the way we see (value) ourselves and others – in Christ.
During Bible study for this series Jay and I noticed that the word “one” and “unity” occur over and over again. In the passages we are using this month, the same encouragement, admonishment, definition of a life lived in Christ is one of unity under the One God and a sense of identity that is rooted completely in Christ. A life lived in worship. And this leads to a life of gratitude. A state of joy. God’s desire for us is not merely popularity or moments of happiness, but a deep and abiding joy.
But, usually we settle for being thankful because there is stuff in the way of our gratitude. Stuff that builds up over time and comes on suddenly. Frequently it rears its ugly head at the oddest moments, like in traffic or when we drop a glass and it shatters just as we are headed out the door, late to a meeting. Or, when someone says just the wrong thing at just the wrong moment and we let loose with a force. Or maybe, for some of us, it doesn’t come out in a roar. Maybe for us the world just gets a little more chilly. We clam up. We stop talking, we won’t help her out again!
So what is that about? What is all the stuff that is building up that comes out as noxious steam?
These are gauges telling us that our tank is empty and we are not very grateful at all. So, we are going slowly this month starting at the roots. Developing an awareness of where gratitude comes from, what gets in its way of being foundational in our lives, what God has to say about it, and finally, how do we find our way to this state of being? This state of joy? This state of being grounded in Christ and… grateful.