Celebration of Gratitude 11/18/18
Lal: What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?
Walt: Turkey, of course. Have you ever had one of those fried turkeys, oh my – they are so moist, and you’d expect it to be greasy, but it’s not.
Lal: That’s it?
Walt: Well, then there’s the dressing. We’ve got this old family recipe that’s mouth watering good. We make an extra pan of it to slice and put on sandwiches. Oh, that’s another favorite thing about Thanksgiving, the sandwiches piled high with turkey, dressing, a a slice of red onion and some cranberry sauce -(singing, to the tune of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”)
I’m dreaming of a Turkey sandwich….
With all the fixings piled so high
They’ll be turkey and dressing,
with bacon and blessing,
the one who bought the bread and mayo…..
or, how about this one…
(To the tune of “Now Thank We All Our God”)
So, thank we all our God,
For Turkey ‘n green bean casserole
With sweet potatoes besides
and gravy on my dressing and a roll.
And later some pumpkin pie
or pecan if you so like
with ice cream on the side
then an hour on the exercise bike.
Lal: Look, the holiday is not called Turkeyanddressing Day. It is Thanksgiving Day. THANKS-giving. You seem to be thankful for food, is there anything else?
Walt: Well, sure… Football. I’ve got this massive TV that’s so big I can watch four games at the same time. And let me tell you who’s playing….
Lal: Um, been outside lately?
Walt: What do you mean. Of course, I have to go outside to, well….. um, I go outside when I walk from my car into the mall.
Lal: Seen a sunrise or sunset lately? Listened to birds sing? Have you breathed in that cool, moist fresh air right after a rainstorm? Drunk a glass of water?
Walt: Well of course I’ve drunk a glass or two of water, mostly it’s that sparkling water, or the flavored stuff. And there’s water in my grande-mocha, frap, latte, double expresso that wakes me up in the morning.
Lal: Did you stop to give thanks?
Walt: Well, no. I guess I sort of take it for granted.
Lal: There’s a lot we take for granted. Not only in the natural world, but in the inter-personal world as well. When was the last time you told your wife/husband thanks? When was the last time you looked into your child’s eyes and instead of seeing a stubborn kid who won’t be who you want her to be, you saw a lovely child of God and you thanked her for being who she is. Teachers and secretaries, bosses and co-workers, all need to hear a note of thanks every once in a while.
Walt: I suppose I could do that. That doesn’t sound too hard.
Lal: No, but it is dangerous.
Walt: What? How can saying “Thanks,” be dangerous?
Lal: It’s only the beginning of a steep slope down into being grateful. And every time you say, “Thanks,” it’s like squirting WD-40 on the bottoms of your shoes… you start sliding a bit faster and farther down into that attitude of gratitude.
Walt: Still, what’s so dangerous about that?
Lal: Well, gratitude is like an infectious disease, and once you contract it, it moves through the body and infects every bodily function. Eyesight is usually the first change you notice. You find yourself looking at folks differently, looking for what you can compliment in them, or seeing things they do as occasions for a “thank you.” Speech is another early casualty. Instead of moving on quickly to whatever needs to be said or done next, you find yourself reflecting on things and saying how good they were and how much you appreciate what was done and the gifts it took to do it. Hands start giving pats on the back, arms start hugging, and backs are no longer something to be talked behind, but instead they bear the burden of the other, glad to be of help. Feet trip over themselves in the race to show appreciation. And one’s hearing gets terribly selective, deaf to all but the good, the right, the true. It’s dangerous. Being thankful will change you.
Walt: Will it change others too?
Lal: I’ve seen it change whole congregations from the inside out. As they begin to look not for what’s wrong, but for what’s right, as they take time to hear one another and really appreciate the gifts each person brings to the mission and ministry of the church well, they loosen up, lighten up, and build up. They notice one another, acknowledge one another, encourage one another, become grateful for one another and they show it by building up one another in love.
Walt: That sounds like that came from the Bible.
Lal: It did. Not bad, huh.
Walt: Not bad at all. Sounds to me like Thanksgiving might be a day on which I can begin looking for ways I can put my gratitude into action.
Lal: Why wait till Thursday when you can start today? Think about all you’re grateful for, think about what God as done for you, think about what God does through others for you. Think about all God does for so many folks though this, your church. And think about how you can put your gratitude into action. One way is through your giving. You can make your pledge to fund the ministry this church for coming year. You can make that pledge aa a celebration of appreciation for all God’s children in this congregation who seek to love God and one another…. and that includes you. What do you say?
Walt: I’m on it. And by the way, have you seen Tandy Graham, Jill Maxwell, and Nancy Templin. I want to thank them for all they did to make it possible for us to house those lovely women from Salvation Army Center of Hope this year. And then Dudley Stone for leading us in our Habitat work, and then…….
Lal: You’re infected! Come on, let’s get out of here and go slap some back.