November: A Season for Gratitude
National Gratitude Month is celebrated every November. It was declared the month of gratitude in 2015. We can take the time to remember all the things to be thankful for. We celebrate the change in the weather as the heat and light of summer recede, leaving us with cooler days and nights. Our physical beings register these changes and cause us to become more reflective as we head toward the Thanksgiving holidays and beyond.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word grateful as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” Showing is the difference from the word “thanks”; being thankful is a feeling, and being grateful is an action.
It’s easy for us to look around the Thanksgiving dinner table and say that we are thankful. Some are surrounded by family, friends, and food and in that moment in time, we’re currently experiencing that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with a holiday gathering; we’re thankful for the moment. We may feel
thankful for people’s presence in our lives, and happy that everyone is well since the last gathering. However, gratitude goes much deeper than this. It is a state of being in which we feel a sense of appreciation that comes from deep within. We are at peace with the world and appreciate that state of affairs deep within. The feeling of calm these thoughts and emotions bring to mind we find fulfilling.
For what are you grateful? What gives you an inmost peace and satisfaction and provides you strength for each day?
Jesus’ momma, Mary, tapped into a deep sense of gratitude when she realized that she would be the mother of our Savior. In Luke 1: 46-49 she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name.” That is not only gratitude… that is an everlasting, deep-within-her-soul, gratitude than can only be found in Jesus!
Maybe you find yourself in conflict right now and feel that you cannot be grateful or thankful. In the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed, “I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Notice that he set aside the day that every November would become our modern Thanksgiving in the United States. He also did it to the glory of God. During a time of turmoil and unbelievable hardship, he invited everyone to find gratitude and thanksgiving with God as the benefactor. I believe that God is inviting us to find a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving many times in spite of our circumstances. Maybe the larger message is to find the silver linings of life in the midst of everyday problems, no matter how big or small.
Take time to stop the busyness of your everyday life and to take inventory. Allow yourself many moments this month to cease doing more and start being in the presence of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. As you do, you will find gratitude… that sense of inner peace that is not just found in your head or heart, but that touches all the way down to the depths of your soul!
I am grateful to be in ministry with each one of you.
Rev. Barry Giddens, Senior Pastor, White Bluff United Methodist Church, Savannah, Georgia