Thursday, First Week of Advent
December 4, 2008

"And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

Living in the Spirit of Gratitude

Just before Thanksgiving, a blogger friend in California initiated a Giving Thanks group on Flickr, a photo sharing website. Using this site, she invited us to post daily "thankful photos," and to write a few lines about why we're thankful for whatever we've photographed. Many of us jumped in enthusiastically, but I doubt many of us realized what an eye-opening experience this would be. So far we've shared photos and stories about cherished parents and friends, annoying, but dear, spouses, precious pets, and brand-new babies. A trio of colorful vintage bowls reminds one woman of her grandmother every time she uses them. An ordinary ball of yarn helps another recall learning to crochet with her mother. Sabbath candles signal a welcome twenty-four period of rest for a tired wife and mother. A glass of wine. A simple supper. A gathering of goofy friends. A pink sky. All cause for giving thanks. Even a scar. For this particular woman, her scar represents both a time of pain and a time of slow but miraculous healing; a knitting together of body first, and then of spirit. A time both awful and wonderful. Give thanks in all circumstances…in the mundane, the celebratory, the awesome, and even the painful times. What a great exercise for Advent…to give thanks in ALL circumstances. When we do this, we truly are praying without ceasing for what better prayer is there than "thank you"?
-- Mary Collis, Science Stockroom and Facilities Coordinator