Throughout the “season” of thanksgiving some of us have been trying to remember to say “I’m grateful,” when answering the question, “How are you?”
Most people respond to that query with a quick, “Good. Fine. Ok; but the hope is that when we answer with “I’m grateful” we have taken time to consider how much we do have to be thankful for.
I mean, when you sit back and look around, it almost doesn’t get any better. Certainly, we all live with some fear and discomfort, perhaps even with a certain amount of sorrow and pain. But you and I also live in a free and safe county with access to food, clean water, clothing, shelter, education, medical and spiritual care, all items that a majority of people in our world and sadly, even some in our own country, do without.
It is always a good practice to keep things in perspective. Responding to “How are you?” with “I’m grateful” encourages this. It encourages us to count our blessings each day and do our best not to get caught up in spirals of worry, negativity or worse.
All of which has had me thinking carefully about myself over these past few days. Because, although it may seem like a small thing, as the daylight continues to disappear and winter is seemingly here to stay, I can feel my mood changing and my inner whining begin. Now, some people actually like winter with its frosty freshness and crisp cold. Personally, I find it very hard to give winter a vote of approval. That is until I step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes, winter is long and difficult, but without it I wouldn’t be able to enjoy what comes before or after. A good reminder for me that winter also has its place in the seasons of God’s creation. The earth’s patterns are bigger than any single season or any one of us.
And so for today, I am going to do my best to be grateful for winter’s arrival; for what it can teach me about goodness of life and what it can help me to know about the boundless grace of God.
When it’s slippery and icy and dangerous outside let me be grateful for the peace and safety I enjoy in my life. When the wind chill dips to -40°C, let me be grateful for boots and coat and a warm house. And when the north winds blow relentlessly across the prairies let me be grateful for those same open spaces and skies I am blessed to watch with anticipation and delight each spring, summer and fall.
For in Romans 1: 20 it says; “Ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see God’s invisible qualities – God’s eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (New Living Translation).