Thanksgiving Thoughts

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Ready for an exercise?

Don’t worry. This exercise doesn’t require you to get into that workout outfit you bought 11 months ago. No, you can do this one sitting down. Right where you are. Right now. Ready?

List 3 things you are thankful for. Ready? Go.




Easy as that pie you’ll eat tomorrow. Also—guess what? You just prayed. You did a ‘thanks’ prayer, to quote Anne Lamott.

Ready for another exercise? Again, you don’t have to go anywhere. Here we go:
Breathe in something you’re grateful for. Hold it…Now, let it out—gratitude. Do it 2 more times. Same thing. In with gratefulness, out with gratitude. I’ll wait. Good job! Another prayer.

Here in the United States, we are on the eve of the day we dedicate as “Thanksgiving.” For some, this day will include preparing, cooking, cleaning, and celebrating with loved ones around a table, TV, or telephones with cameras. Thanksgiving Day is a day we pause to consider all we are thankful for in our lives. Some of us will do so with ease; still others of us might need to dig a little deeper, look past the help prayers, and the wow ones, too (more Anne Lamott) to find their ‘thanks’ prayer. A few of us might not get to ‘thanks,’ and that is okay.

As your pastor, colleague, friend, and stranger, I will say thanks to you. Not in some patronizing way, but in a pastoral way. With kindness and gentleness, and a touch of tenderness. Because I am thankful for you. I am grateful for your story—even if I haven’t read it yet. I’ll give thanks for you because God has gifted us—the world, the community, the church—with you. While I may not know you personally, you are known personally by God—and I give thanks to the Holy One for God has given us you.

Here are a few more words from Anne Lamott on the ‘thanks.’ prayer:
“We and life are spectacularly flawed and complex. Often we do not get our way, which I hate, hate, hate. But in my saner moments I remember that if we did, usually we would shortchange ourselves. Sometimes circumstances conspire to remind us or even let us glimpse how thin the membrane is between here and there, between birth and the grave, between human and the divine. In wonder at the occasional direct experience of this, we say, Thank you.”
At The Center yesterday, we made ‘Gratitude Jars.’ We spent over an hour with the students creating them, looking up words in magazines that go with the themes of gratitude and thankfulness, and we wrote poems about the feeling of thankfulness; we wrote poems thanking nature; we wrote poems giving thanks for our unique talents. As we were making them, the students stopped and said, “Hey Laura and Adam, thank you. And thanks to the church for getting us these supplies.”

Thank you, church. Thank you for leaning into love a little deeper this past year. Thank you for taking a risk with someone who needed a little help learning about how to be in a community. Thank you for showing up this past year and offering God your gifts, gratitude, and goals. Thank you, church, for loving each other, for showing up with casseroles when some of us needed comfort food, and thank you church for your faithful commitment to the baptismal vows we’ve made.
As we move closer to Thanksgiving, I invite you to be intentional and extravagant with your ‘thanks’ and ‘gratitude.’ In so doing, not only will you feel better, but you will help others feel better about themselves, as well. Being thankful helps cultivate a grateful community…
…like ours!

So, Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Know you are loved. You are appreciated. And you mean the world to so many of us. More importantly, you are the apple to God’s eye. And that’s something to be thankful for!

Adam Quine, First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln


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