World Gratitude Day!
Once again, it’s been quite a week. On Tuesday, September 22nd, we had the official start of fall at 9:30 am Eastern time. Fall is my favorite time of year – Grandpa used to teach me that it is the time of the harvest; when the land gets ready for hibernation during the winter – once again coming to life in the spring, when everything is new.
But before all that, it is great to just enjoy the Fall. I am grateful for the change of seasons and all the good things that we experience in our lives throughout the year. Speaking of gratitude, Monday, September 21st, was World Gratitude Day. It is a relatively new day of celebration, started when a group of international people met in Hawaii in 1965 and decided that there should be a specific day that we display gratitude for all the blessings that we have.
The next year, 1966, when the members of the inaugural group were back in their own countries, the idea took hold and September 21st of each year was designated a day of gratitude across the world. It has been celebrated each year since and, quite clearly, it is day of global involvement through various activities and rituals, all designed to recognize something that we can be grateful for.
Sometimes, these celebrations are small acts of kindness, such as writing notes or cards to people who may not otherwise have people to communicate with. Having dinner together as a family is strongly encouraged, especially in this world of instant gratification and people doing their own thing, regardless of the impact that their actions have on others. And the display of gratitude can be for simple things – like having a job, living in a free country, being healthy or the ability to have education or the right to vote.
Of course, this year, feelings of gratitude can be more difficult to come by. For most of us, the country has been shut down for six months and we have been, for the most part, in almost total isolation. Masks have become commonplace and we have been taught to use disinfectants and sanitizers each time we touch something out in public. The number of people who are tired of being housebound is increasing and mental problems are on the rise. Several days ago, it was reported that more than 200,000 people have lost their lives due to Covid-19. While statistically very small, each of those lost lives is important and each of those people who succumbed to the virus had families and loved ones who mourn their loss.
While there is tragedy in the country at this time, we still have things to be grateful for. Many people still have jobs and there are a huge number of families where everyone is healthy and they are relatively unaffected by the pandemic. The stock market continues to recover from huge losses earlier this year, commencing in late February. Likewise, many couples have been blessed by the ability to spend more time together during this forced quarantine. The housing market is strong and people are spending funds on fixing up where they live – contributing to the economic and retail recovery in some industries.
What I am saying is that each of us can worry about all the bad stuff or we can take a page from the gratitude book and think about some blessing that we have experienced this year. Whether it is the birth of a child, a promotion or new job, the fact that we are healthy, or even the sharing of a meal or other event together, I’m sure that each of us can come up with something to be grateful for. And it doesn’t have to cost money – what about watching a sunrise or sunset – experiencing the grandeur of God’s creation…
Our verse for tonight is from Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse. Paul, in his letter to one of the churches he founded, tells us in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” My encouragement is that we don’t live in a perfect world – but we do serve a God who works all things together for good. My prayer is that the country can eventually heal and that we can each acknowledge that no matter how difficult things may seem, we can find something to be grateful for – and that’s important to do. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…