These opening lines of Andraé Crouch’s classic praise song express my sentiments, too, and ring strong in my soul. Perhaps yours, as well.
Again and again, my heart swelled with gratitude towards family members, old and new friends, and to our Heavenly Father, as day after day my wife and and I experienced kindness and generosity during our recent trip to the UK.
As we travelled from place to place and home to home, some folk gave up their beds for us and slept on couches and inflatable mattresses on the floor. They spared no effort to ensure our comfort and provide great meals and interesting trips.
It seemed that the words Thanks and Thank you were never off our lips—nor should they
ever be. I noticed that they were on other people’s lips, too. Family and friends generously drove us places, and yet we did more travelling by bus and coach in several weeks there than we’d done throughout four decades in Canada.
We’d thank the driver as we were about to leave the vehicle, and observed that most other travellers did, too. We frequently heard phrases such as, “Thanks,” “Thanks driver,” and “Thank y’very much,” and some fellows would say, “Thanks mate.”
Seriously, from Glasgow’s brogue and Edinburgh’s east-side tones, to Yorkshire’s broad sounds, in my hearing the majority of folks thanked the driver, when disembarking. I noted also that a person’s appearance gave no clue as to who would or would not express thanks, for both the unkempt and well-dressed most often did.
Cultural celebrations of Thanksgiving (as in the Harvest Festival of the Brits and the Canadian and American Thanksgivings on their respective dates) involve more than saying thanks. The giving aspect suggests that a sign of genuine gratitude involves an element of giving towards the meeting of someone else’s need. And so, we have food drives, ‘white gifts’ and other schemes to provide a boost from our bounty, so that other folks may have a share.
Historically and ultimately, such celebrations are means of expressing thanks to God, since “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of change” (James 1:17, tr. from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts).
The thankful heart grows in the soil of everyday, in the small matters, such as in the simple act of expressing thanks to bus and coach drivers, or the clerk at the checkout. And as I observed, some of those who do so may surprise us. Remember that, of the ten men Jesus healed of leprosy, it was the Samaritan who came back to express thanks. “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (see Luke 17:12-19 NIV). Jesus remarked, “Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?”
Will you join me and millions of others “at Jesus’ feet,” pouring out heartfelt thanks, this Thanksgiving?
*Lines from Crouch’s song credit: © 1971 by Bud John Songs, Inc.; 1971 Lexicon Music
~~~Now out: Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, sprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3 Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com ; www.glynisbelec.com Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca Or from the author, see Contact form. Coming soon: ebook version
Author Price: $17 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).
What readers are saying about the book Raise Your Gaze . . . :
I want to tell you my wife is reading Raise your Gaze and calls it wonderful. One story she enjoyed most was about Lincoln Alexander. She knew him personally. . . . It’s a beautiful book. (D. R.)
D.R. also wrote: “I found it hard to put down. The word images are fascinating, the ideas inspiring and the stories often amusing. . .”
I enjoyed your book very much and believe that God can use it . . . (W. B.)
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Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca
Author Price: $14 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).
The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~