This has been a difficult couple/few weeks in Nova Scotia, on top of a challenging almost two years now. And for some reason, gratitude kept getting threaded through my sermons each week of Advent. I preached on how to turn complaining or negativity into gratitude. It’s not about suggesting that everything is okay and that there is nothing to worry about, but more about reframing on how to view something. Yes, I can complain that I hit almost all the red lights on the way home, but how often do I hit all the green ones? How often do things work out for me?
I found myself being grateful so many times this past week. I delivered some of the Christmas bags to folks who can’t make it out to church and have no on-line access. It was good to have some doorstep visits with people and I was grateful to those who had a hand in putting the bags together. At a few of the apartment buildings I was at, I found myself VERY grateful for visitors parking spots that were clearly marked AND close to the entrance. So grateful to the people who spent the afternoon videoing scenes in the sanctuary and editing, grateful for a music director who has both musical talent and technical abilities. I am grateful that I brought a basket of Christmas goodies over to the neighbour next to the church, they and the church haven’t always had the best of relationships, and perhaps this can be the start of something different. I am grateful that my husband is retired and did any last minutes grocery shopping. I am grateful that I have a vocation in which I earn a living wage. I was grateful that my energy was good all week and that my body felt strong most days, as I get older, I no longer take that for granted! I am grateful for time and space each morning to write, to get my thoughts in order before the day starts. I am grateful, over and over again, for leadership in so many ways, at the church I am serving as an Intentional Interim Minister.
Ever since I read Thanks a Thousand by A. J. Jacobs this summer, I have been trying to notice all the things that work well for me, that I simply take for granted. He writes…”a key reason why gratitude is so difficult to maintain, and why it takes so much effort and intention: If something is done well for us, the process behind it is largely invisible.” He’s also got a Ted Talk that you can access here.
On Christmas Eve, as I sit at home, enjoying a quiet afternoon, I wonder what it is that you are grateful for this day?
And that’s my window on God’s world.
The photograph is a personal one from the chapel at Corrymeela in Ireland.