Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Tradition of Gratitude, The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Two of the dearest souls in all this wide world were my grandparents Cavanaugh. They had a tradition that covered Christmas and birthdays. It went like this: Leona bought herself whatever she wanted "from Tom" and Tom received something he already owned which Leona had wrapped up and put a tag on "From Leona". What can I say? They were happy and they made us happy.

Every family has its traditions. They comfort us, delight us, and call to us to remember things too significant to forget. At least they are supposed to accomplish that. Sometimes the significance is lost over time and a ritual is all that remains. Christmas can be like that. We remember presents and forget Presence. We make a gift list but forget God gave and why...maybe even what that gift really was.

The remembering part was always a big deal to God. We are encouraged so often in the scriptures to remember. The events God feels are important to remember are usually important because they are good for us, the ones whom He loves.

Remembering connects us in a sense of community with all of Heaven as well as to believers here on Earth. It says we belong to something, to one another. Those connections are immortal, eternal, love framed and hung in our hearts to be cherished. To be written about and talked about. To be played and painted and sung.

I am asking the Lord to encourage in me a grateful heart this Christmas. To make gratitude my tradition, my way of life. To cause me to remember every kindness, every favor, every mercy, every generous act ever done to me. To reach for the wonders He and others have cast into my life. To allow them do adorn my life and brighten my holiday and to be as gifts opened for the first time.

Gratitude is expansive. It always overwhelms its less desirable neighbors. It cultivates and plants and produces fruit. It makes room for God-stuff. Gratitude, affection, remembrance. These are the wise-hearted Magi gifts I lay at His feet and receive back as grace upon my own life.

Join me.

I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. Psalm 89:1-2

1 comment:

  1. "Gratitude is expansive. It always overwhelms its less desirable neighbors....It makes room for God-stuff."

    I have been thinking about this very idea for days, and here it is in print. I have need of some more expansive, God-stuff-attracting gratitude right now. Thank you for a spring-board. -K