“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
It is Thanksgiving time…a holiday depicted by family and friends around a bounteous dinner table with gratitude, laughter and love. And often peace. Yet, some may not feel peace or even gratitude at this time of year. Some may be hurting from hunger, poverty, loneliness, fear, addiction, mental illness, health problems, even war.
Still…Jesus says in the Gospel of John that He alone gives us peace in the face of our troubles, in spite of the world and its evil. I looked at the headlines just this morning and saw a peace treaty was just declared, at least temporarily, between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip. Even though Israel’s Prime Minister is declaring the war will resume, at least just for today there will hopefully be a glimmer of peace. Not so in Ukraine. We can and should continue to pray. Here in America, there are no major wars but minor ones…on the borders, on drugs, on hate crimes…the list goes on. So we pray for the US too.
And what about in our own families? We have experienced in our large blended family recent times of anxiety and friction which has led to a lack of peace and gratitude…
Still, all are invited to come to the table. This year my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving. As I write this I think of the mental checklist of all that has to be done (including a few loose ends at work) and I start to get overwhelmed. But really, what purpose does this serve? So I try to regroup and pray for my own peace…and I try once again to take a deep breath, get some fresh air, refocus on Jesus. And suddenly I feel thankful again…for our family gathering tomorrow, for our friends, for sobriety, the comfort of our home, the beautiful leaves still left on the trees, the sun shining. And for hope, faith, forgiveness and love.
It is said when our hearts are full of gratitude they cannot be full of anything else. Here are a few more quotes on gratitude:
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” — Aesop
“Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins
“It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” -Anonymous