“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
(Psalm 118:24, NKJV)
Time seems to slip away lately. Life has been pretty busy. Feels as if I run from one place to another from the crack of dawn until my head hits the pillow at night. Work at the university has me running . . . the church keeps me busy . . . and, family has its fair share of requests on my time too. It is busy, busy, busy as life seems to have been a blur for the past couple of months. I imagine that it is not much different for most of you who are reading these words, especially as we gear up for the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Life is about to jump into hyper-drive.
All of this busyness is no fun. I haven’t really had the time to enjoy the blessings, gifts, and opportunities of life that have come my way. I am either too busy or too tired. I think we all are.
On Facebook I have noticed a trend lately . . . a trend of “giving thanks”. It started around the first day of November, and from what I understand, it will continue through the month of November until the 30th. What is happening is that some folks are taking each day and posting something or someone that they are “thankful” for. Some days it is for the beauty of the sunrise or sunset, other days it is for a member of their family, while on others it is that they avoided getting a traffic ticket. Whatever the case, each day a word of “thanksgiving” is given as a means of acknowledging gratitude. It is a nice discipline in awareness for those blessings, gifts, and opportunities in life that are experienced by all of us. Apparently some of us do it better than others.
I think I fall into that category of needing a little more daily awareness in giving “thanks”. Now, don’t think that I am not a person of gratitude. My parents raised me to be respectful towards others, and I always say “thank you” whenever I receive a gift from another or if someone does something for me. Trust me, I let people know that I appreciate their gifts in my life. If someone tells me, “God bless you” after I sneeze; I say, “Thank you.” But, that is not the sort of gratefulness I am speaking about here . . . nor, is it the simple act of writing a little note on Facebook either. No, where I am lacking is in that awareness of the fact that I woke up this morning, my name wasn’t in the obituaries, and a whole new day fill with all sorts of adventures, opportunities, and lessons lay before me as being a gift . . . the gift to just be alive! I need a little more practice and awareness in living within the blessing of the moment and thanking God for it.
That is a lot tougher than people think it is. In a simple exercise, I can ask you to name things and people you are grateful for. Odds are you could probably reel off five to ten things or people in a snap; but, after that . . . well, it gets a little more difficult to name things. I think that that is one of the reasons that it is sometimes so difficult to actually spend a month (like November) offering a daily word of gratefulness. It starts out easy and proceeds into silliness or sappiness. There is an “A” for effort, but is this a real act of gratefulness? I am not sure . . .
. . . I am not sure because the psalmist in the Book of Psalms tells us that each and every day is a day that the Lord has made. Because it is a day that the Lord has made, we should all rejoice and be glad in it. I don’t think the psalmist was writing these words in the 21st century. If the psalmist had been writing those words now . . . well, I am not so sure that he or she would have been so quick to tell us all to rejoice and be glad in the day. The psalmist never had to endure a commute to and from work. The psalmist never had to put up much of what many of us experience in our daily lives. The psalmist never experienced the frustrations and disappointments we have in our lives. When was the last time the psalmist had to deal with a virus on the computer? Maybe the psalmist’s words are obsolete.
Nope. The words that the psalmist spoke thousands of years ago are still relevant today . . . this is the day that the Lord has made, and we should rejoice and be glad in it. Whether the day is good or bad, exciting or boring, frustrating or exhilarating . . . it is still a day which God has created and blessed us with . . . there is much to be grateful for. The problem is not the day—no matter which generation the words are spoken, but in the awareness of the gift, blessing, and opportunity that the day really is. That lack of awareness can be from being too busy to being too tired . . . whatever it is, it is just the fact that way too many of us—especially me, are not conscious of the presence of God in our lives.
An act of giving daily “thanks” on Facebook might be one means of creating the discipline of daily awareness and gratefulness . . . if we carry it out beyond one month to be a daily part of who we are . . . people of gratefulness and thanksgiving. But, like New Year’s resolutions, this discipline is quickly forgotten as we march into the adventures of the next holiday season—Christmas. No, the awareness needs to be deeper than that if it is to become a part of who we are . . . it needs to become a heart practice.
I know that I need more of this awareness in my life. On those days, good or bad, that I start the day reminding myself of the gift of the day . . . reminding myself of God’s presence in the day . . . things have gone a whole lot smoother. Oh sure, there were those days when anything and everything went wrong, but I was never alone . . . God was with me. I think that is the gift of every day that we need to remember. We are never alone, God is always with us . . . the problem is, we are not always with God. When we are not with God the gift of the day . . . the gift of the moment . . . is lost.
I am not going to start posting words of gratefulness on my Facebook each day . . . I could only come up with a couple anyways. But, I am thinking seriously of posting the words of the psalmist on the mirror in the bathroom so it is the first thing I see every morning when I get up . . . at least the first thing I will see in the morning once I get my glasses on. Those words will serve as a reminder . . . I am alive . . . it is a new day . . . there is hope . . . and, there is always the presence of God. No matter how busy my life might get, those are words I should engrave upon my heart. I am thankful . . . the Lord is with me each and every day . . . and, I rejoice.