Being thankful is one of those qualities of life people seem obsessed with all the time. We have a major holiday around it. We find whole sections of Hallmark cards on the theme of thanks. Ask parents what some of the first words we teach our children are, and invariably the words, “thank you,” will be high on the list.

And yet, gratitude is not meant to be something that’s simply external or an expression of social etiquette. It is something to be cultivated on a regular basis for the sake of our souls and spirits and our connections to God and to each other. So much tries to prevent us from this posture towards life, but when we see its necessity for our basic survival each day we can easily make strides to truly be grateful for so much in our lives.

It is food for our lives, and the food of our lives.

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Don’t fear, fertile land; rejoice and be glad, for the Lord is about to do great things!

Don’t be afraid, animals of the field, for the meadows of the wilderness will turn green; the tree will bear its fruit; the fig tree and grapevine will give their full yield.

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because he will give you the early rain as a sign of righteousness; he will pour down abundant rain for you, the early and the late rain, as before.

The threshing floors will be full of grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and fresh oil.

Joel 2:21-24

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The people have just lived through a major tragedy — not only the violent upheaval of their whole lives but the removal of the very source of their lives. Grain for food and sacrifice was just decimated by the worst plague. Locusts. It was like the worst nightmare came alive in the same storm that wreaked havoc upon their captors in Egypt now laying waste to their own land.

But then, these words from the prophet Joel: Do not fear. These are familiar throughout the gospel passages during Advent, and it makes sense that God would prepare us in the same way even now. To truly enter into gratitude and thanksgiving we need to let go of fear – fear of history, fear of mistakes, fear of devastation. God promises abundant rains to wash away those fears and to make that soil ready to receive the one seed that will ultimately produce life. We are meant to be grateful. We are created for joy.

Mihee Kim-Kort

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God, there is so much that holds me back and paralyzes me in fear – sometimes it’s the unknown, sometimes it’s the past, and sometimes it’s the memory of pain. Help me to believe your words and promises and live into what you continue to provide in the way of love and grace. Amen.

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May you discard the worries of the past and all that would prevent you from the gracious beauty of the present moment.

May you relinquish the fears and anxieties of tomorrow and root yourself in the soil of the abundance here and now.

May you have the spirit and energy to strive for the Good in everything.

May gratitude and love overflow in your cup.

Go in peace and hope, with the joy that comes from a thankful heart towards God in Jesus Christ.

Mihee Kim-Kort

Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is spouse to a Presbyterian minister, mother to three amazing children, director of a UKIRK campus ministry at Indiana University. She is also a freelance writer and author of numerous blogs, articles, and books. Her website is

Walking Toward Morning: Here I Am To Worship

Ken Medema

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