As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, I am reminded of a practice that my family and I began a couple of years ago. Each morning at breakfast, during the month of November, we begin our day by writing one thing that we are grateful for on a fall-colored-leaf and add it to our Gratitude Tree (see the picture above from my Instagram stories).
On some mornings this practice comes quit easily and natural to me, but other times (I have to confess) it feels a bit forced at first. For there are some days that I am stressed about work, down about the ongoing pandemic, or angry at the effects of systemic racism, that it is truly hard to be in a posture of gratitude.
And yet, when I continue to sit with the leaf in my hand and force myself to come up with something that I am truly thankful for in the midst of real-life struggle, it reminds me that while our present injustices and pain are true, they are not the whole truth. It reminds me that Christian gratitude is not one that turns a blind eye towards the brokenness of our world, but rather insists that God’s grace justice, mercy, and beauty are also present and emerging and we can choose to participate in that goodness.
Christian gratitude is one of the central ingredients that empowers us to not become bogged down by what is wrong in the present, and to dream big with God and help bring about God’s preferred future.
Join us this Sunday as we consider what it means to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), as we continue our worship series, Dream Big! We hope to see you in the comments on Facebook Live!
Rev. Paul Ortiz