15 December 2019
I came across the following story.
“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.
The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve
others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."
The boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."
Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have. “
The passages in the bible that have most about thanksgiving seem to all come out of situations when life is not going well. When everything has come crashing down .
Paul is in prison facing the death penalty when he writes to the people at Philippi,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And he goes on to say that their gifts are like a fragrant offering . Prisons in general do not have fragrance—in fact quite the opposite, Even the air he breathed was sweeter for the thank offering of those who cared about him.
I walked over to the church the other morning, wishing I had put another layer on, as the sleet came horizontally across the cemetery, I noticed that by the path, a clump of yellow jonquils bravely faced the storm. I was too busy getting out of the weather to stop. The next day as I came past — no rain or wind this time – a fragrance was there. This time I stopped and really noticed how much new growth there was even on the shortest day, reminding us that the winter does not last forever and already spring is underway.
But for now it is still winter. I pray that we all will know the warmth of God’s sustaining love in the cold places of our lives and be able to perceive the new life that is already waiting for us.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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