Every year, November rolls around and we embrace the season of Thanksgiving. We practice our annual traditions of meals with family, afternoons spent in front of the TV watching football, games and puzzles with a warm cup in hand. This is the season where the cold outside comes at us with full force and we retreat to the coziness inside, thankful for hearth and home and the ones we love.

Recently, I’ve been struck by how we lose a sense for what big words like “thanksgiving” mean to us. The word becomes so frequent, the practice of celebration so ubiquitous, that it can begin to diminish in it’s depth of meaning. It becomes a “big, fuzzy word,” a concept disconnected from practical gratitude and life “on the ground” of each day. What might it look like for us to deepen our sense of true thanksgiving and deep gratitude this year?

In this season of our life together, I hope we can reclaim a sense of what it means to be thankful by exploring the notion of gratitude. One helpful way I encounter gratitude is trying to notice the things that make me say “Wow!” throughout each day. I have to cultivate a sense of “Wow!” in the everyday moments so that when the big things come along, I’ve made space in my heart and soul to recognize their goodness. By expressing the “Wow!” of gratitude for my morning cup of espresso, for instance, I can slowly begin to open up a space in myself that allows me to look at the feast table of Thanksgiving with fresh eyes and see it for the abundant “Wow!” that it is.

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving this year, I hope we can find ways to cultivate gratitude through those “Wow!” moments (which, put another way, are instances of awe and wonder). Awe and wonder are marks of the good news living out in our lives. As we approach all that God has provided for us with awe and wonder, gratitude becomes easier. We become aware that God’s world is rich with good things and that even amidst the chaos, we can say “Wow!” to the beauty and splendor that we witness to each day.

Gratitude is an invitation. Gratitude invites us to sit at the table of God’s feast, however it plays out in our lives today, and to say, “Wow!” It reminds me of the prophet Isaiah’s words: “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price!” The abundant table of God is freely given to all who hunger, all who long for God’s goodness. The invitation is simple — Come, eat, and, in response, say “Wow!”.

May your Thanksgiving season be filled with awe, wonder, and moments of grateful “Wow!” at all God so lovingly provides.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Seth

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