Family Liturgies

“I thank my God . . .”

poohJennifer DiFrancesco

Quote:

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust, French Novelist

 

Prayer:

Encircle us and embrace us, God.  As the days get shorter, visit us in the busyness of our lives.  Awaken us with crisp winds to see your blessings all around us.  You are here. We are here. Encircle us in your love.  Amen.

 

Scripture:  Philippians 1:1-8

From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

To all those in Philippi who are God’s people in Christ Jesus, along with your supervisors and servants. May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

 

Memory Verse:

“I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers.” ~Philippians 1:3

 

Reflection:

Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, though it feels like our society has skipped right from Halloween to Christmas.  Black Friday sales have already started.  And folks in my neighborhood are already decorating for Christmas.  In our rush, we’ve forgotten to take a moment to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Some aren’t surprised that our culture has skipped Thanksgiving.  Where is the profit in this holiday?  And others might not be surprised because they’ve witness the “lack of thanks” this new generation has. “Where is my handwritten thank you note?” A twitter or FB shoutout just doesn’t cut it.

Paul knew the power of a well-written thank you note.  He “kills” it in the beginning and the end of his letter to the Philippians. The guy WAS in jail, so he had time on his hands to wordsmith something awesome.  Maybe that’s the key: taking the time, having the time, making the time to say thanks.  It’s not that saying thanks is hard, really it’s not.  Rather, it’s taking the time out of our jammed filled lives to express gratitude to a person in a form that is most meaningful for them and not the easiest for us.

 

Questions to Spark Conversation:

~Our lives overflow with blessings from God, regardless of how much or how little we think we have. For who or what are you thankful?

~Paul seems to find it easy to express his gratitude to the people of Philippi.  Is it easy for you to convey your thankfulness?  When might be times that expressing thanks is a bit more difficult?

 

Spiritual Practice:  

Take a gratitude walk this week. Go for a walk in your neighborhood and see how many wonderful things you see, hear, feel, and smell.  Beautiful leaves falling to the ground, children laughing while swinging on the swings, the smell of fresh rain. The walk doesn’t have to be long, just a time when you can be fully aware of your surroundings and take time to say a word of thanks to God for what you’ve noticed.

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