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The goal is year-round gratitude. The main task is noticing

November 23, 2023

Photo by Diliara Garifullina via Unsplash

Deadlines being what they are, I’m writing this Thanksgiving piece on gratitude long before the bird’s in the oven, the potatoes have been mashed and the pumpkin pies are cooling on the wire racks. The hardest part is putting fingers to keyboard without those olfactory cues. Nonetheless, it’s not difficult to reach inside a grateful heart, as we do every year at this time, and thank God for being alongside us on the journey.

In fact, I’m working at making gratitude a more everyday occurrence. All that’s required here is to notice: no big health scares of late, children who make the effort to call us regularly to chat on the phone — and seem to enjoy it — and work that still feels like a calling and is fresh every day.

Clearly, any success at year-round gratitude depends solely on my own efforts. Blessings and accompaniment are just about always there and require only that I notice them, a little like a backyard strewn with dyed eggs on Easter Sunday.

I’m also noticing as I get older that the benefits of noticing can be cumulative. When I perceive a drought of either blessings or presence, it’s not hard to tap into the noticing that occurred last week or last month. While it’s great to stay current, it’s also reassuring to look back and be blessed all over again.

An old friend once told me I could carry on a conversation with a dead ant on the sidewalk. It’s a quality that’s helped sustain my career as a journalist, and it’s a curiosity that can also make noticing more frequent and less difficult. May blessings and accompaniment be yours this Thanksgiving Day.

Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, November 23, 2023, Thanksgiving Day (Year A)

Today’s Focus: Thanksgiving

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Alicia Samuels, Vice President of eCommerce & Marketing & Flyaway Books Editorial, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation
Elizabeth Sanders, Customer Service Representative, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation

Let us pray

God of blessings and accompaniment, thanks for walking alongside us — not to prevent calamities, but to be there for counsel and emotional first aid when we need it most. Stoke our inclination toward gratitude, so we can be mindful year-round of your gifts and your guidance. Amen.

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