Guardian Angels News

Pastoral Pearls: Gratitude

Posted by MaryPat Potts on

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~  John Milton

The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.” ~ Henri Nouwen

Here I am, straddling the bridge between Thanksgiving and Advent. I cannot accept the abrupt transition of closing the door on one in order to open the door to the next. I’m taken with the idea that these two holiday seasons seem to just flow together, swirling with concepts that move back and forth between the two. Thanksgiving prepares us for Advent much like Advent prepares the way for Christmas. Any way I look at it, gratitude and love are at the heart of these flowing seasons – seasons for reflection, for growth, for teaching me to open my heart, open my awareness of where and how I see God’s love, and allow this openness to lead me to the fullness of living out of love – Thanks-Living.

Albert Schweitzer speaks about the importance of reflecting my life back to God through living with gratitude. That’s what I truly feel called to do – thank God for all he does for me by the way I live my life. That is how I see Advent too – as a reminder to me of the miracles God brings into my life every day – like Jesus breaking into my life over and over – to fill me with God’s love so that it bubbles over onto others through my own actions of generosity and love. 

John Milton’s quote above highlights this, from the starting place of gratitude. Advent to me is a season of reverence – remembering, waiting for, and looking for the greatness of God within even the smallest miracles, the most vulnerable as represented by Jesus in the form of a baby. This is the “transcendent moment… that changed (and changes) life forever.” I am compelled to stand in awe of this humble greatness. Living in constant gratitude allows me to see God, to encounter God in the multitude of miraculous moments within each day. Advent - and our secular Christmas Season – are sparkling with tiny miracles, if I would only pay attention and recognize these as God teasing me forward toward even greater miracles – toward accepting God “born” into my life, again and again.

This is the “Gift of Love” which Henry Nouwen speaks of; the “gift to be celebrated with joy.” 

I never really noticed this “bridge” between Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas before.

Loving God,

thank you for opening me up to this new understanding of the bridge between these two special holidays – Thanksgiving and Advent.

May I rise to the challenge, pay attention to the tiny sparkling miracles of your twinkling love that allow Thanksgiving to lead me to an Advent attitude of awe and reverence, transcendence within all that is simple, joy and gift.

May your Spirit inspire me to “go with the flow” of my own Thanks-Living, toward embracing miracles while waiting for and looking for the greatness of God within the simple and vulnerable.

May I not fear being turned upside down for God.

~ Amen



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