Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Being thankful

I started writing our Christmas letter, which if we're lucky will be out by Thanksgiving, and in keeping with the timing, started out listing things we're thankful for. At church last weekend we heard that "Holy delight and joy is the great antidote to despair and is a wellspring of genuine gratitude." Or something like that. Dallas Willard was there in the flesh, and John O. read a quote of his, which I didn't get verbatim in my notebook.

As I think about it, gratitude is an antidote to despair, as is praise. If I think about all I have to be thankful for, despair fades and gratitude and joy follow. So maybe all these blend together; any of them can produce the others: praise, joy, gratitude. Maybe they are actually aspects of the same thing?

But that brought to mind the prayer in John 17, which was our reading assignment in last week's study guide. It was a great exercise for me to just review all the instances of gave/given/granted in that prayer. As I write this, which in itself is a good exercise, let me jot down a few more verses that occur to me...

2 Peter 1.3f: ...his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness
Ephesians 1.3 given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
Ephesians 1.6 destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ
2 Timothy 1.7 God has given us ... a spirit of power, love and self control
Romans 6.23 the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
1 John 3.1 Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God

OK, I cheated on the 2 Timothy; the lovely Carol just asked me what the reference was on that.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus -- 1 Thessalonians 5.17f

Sounds great. But sometimes, like Richard Gere's character in Shall We Dance, men sometimes -- OK, all right, I sometimes feel like looking for something to bring a little more, ah, what -- joy? Holy joy is what I need more of. Which, as I said (and should keep preaching to myself) is both a byproduct and a cause of gratitude.

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