Tag Archives: thanksgiving

How Do I Give Thanks Today?

For more than twenty years, I’ve had to write something for Thanksgiving. Often, I’ve used the Biblical story of the “Ten Lepers” for inspiration. If Jesus wondered why only one leper was grateful for his healing, what must God think of us when we take our blessings for granted? This year, I’m beginning with Tom’s words, “Every time I turn around, there’s another pleasant surprise from God.”

As we left for Tucson last month, our minds were riddled with worry and sadness. Our grandson had been injured playing rugby and needed surgery and the day before we left my nephew was killed in a car accident. Staying home was out of the question. I was conducting my mother’s memorial service in Tucson. We packed our bags and drove first to my sister’s home six hours away and then back to Buffalo Airport. The next morning, Tom opened the drapes in our hotel room and said, “Every time, I turn around there’s another pleasant surprise from God.”

What was he talking about? He pointed to the idyllic country scene just outside the hotel window and began ticking off the list of blessings we had received over the past twenty-four hours. He started with the previous night. When we crossed the bridge at Niagara Falls, we needed gas immediately. He asked a taxi driver for directions to the nearest gas station. That stranger not only led us to the nearest open gas station, but also all the way to the Buffalo airport. He even paid our toll as we crossed a toll bridge. As he disappeared into the night, we gave thanks to God for his kindness. Tom finished his list with the unexpected Jacuzzi tub in our hotel room.

Yes, God had given us little blessings here and there, as we set out on this journey, our hearts full of sadness and worry. I needed to give God thanks. I offer you this tip. God offers small blessings, surprises, even on the worst days. We can follow St. Paul’s instructions, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)

Hospitality

In our land of abundance, “No one will ever leave our home hungry,” is often a family tradition. In many places, hospitality can mean the difference between life and death, physically or emotionally. Visitors to the poorest nations are amazed by the generous sharing of food that often leaves the host family hungry. Regularly, foreign guests are offered lodging in dwellings already overcrowded.
The Bible speaks about the importance of hospitality. Like the word hospital, hospitality comes from the Latin word for healing. Much of the time, as hosts, we are unaware of the healing that our guests need. We welcome friends and family, sometimes feeling like Martha, overworked, hurried, glad to see our guests and already wondering exactly when they will leave.
Today, I offer you another way. From the moment you know they are coming, whether months before, or as you hear the knock on the door, wrap your guests in prayer.
• Ask God, not only for a safe journey to and from your home, but also for joy along the way. Pray that their eyes, ears and hearts will be open to glimpses of God’s Kingdom.
• Prepare their room with prayer for restful sleep. Fill the room with loving thoughts.
• Focus on your good memories with them, and good experiences you hope to have as you prepare the food you will share.
• Give God thanks for the gift of their visit each morning as you wake and each night as go to sleep.
• As they leave, ask for God’s blessing upon their lives not just for the return journey, but always.
Wrapping your guests in prayer will ensure that you offer them an experience of healing. That is true Biblical hospitality.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1Peter 4:9-10)