Pause

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done, in whom His world rejoices;
who, from our mother’s arms, hath blest us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

from “Now Thank We All Our God,” Martin Rinkart, 1636

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Listen

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

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Think

It’s sitting there. Quietly. A few simple words. The reminder: even as you talk with God about what you need, what is in your heart… to also say “thank you, God.” The text says “along with,” which means at the same time, in the same breath.

This isn’t about robotic, polished, rehearsed, well-composed, fancy phrases of thanksgiving. We are asked to give thanks, or as it translates in older languages, “to practice thanksgiving.”

Giving thanks vs. Practicing thanks. It shifts the meaning a bit, doesn’t it? Giving thanks sounds like saying words. Practicing thanksgiving sounds like something we do with our whole self, our mind and hands. Practicing thanks looks like listening to someone who needs to pour our their heart. Because we’ve been listened to like that before. Practicing thanks means we don’t laugh at a joke that insults someone, even if we find it funny. Because we’ve been told that everyone is beloved by God. Everyone. Practicing thanks means we’re reflecting our gratitude by changing our behavior.

And practicing thanks is as important to God, maybe more important, than the fancy words.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

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Pray

O, God. In all that I do today and tomorrow, may I reflect how grateful I am for you, for those with whom you have surrounded me, for those who love and protect me. May I demonstrate my love for you by loving others. Amen.

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Go

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills in this world and the next.

from “Now Thank We All Our God,” Martin Rinkart, 1636

Gina Yeager-Buckley

Gina Yeager-Buckley serves as the national Associate for Ministries with Youth for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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Ken Medema

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