Happy ChristThanksGivingMas: Part Two-Gratefulness (cont.)

If you missed Part One, here’s the link. https://jamielynsinkwell.com/2020/12/03/happy-christthanksgivingmas-part-one-gratefulness/

You know, guys, the Word of God, His written word is a BIG book. It’s full of inspiration, admonitions, and to be honest-some things that make you go, “Mmmmm. WHAT THE HECK?” It’s also full of amazing mysteries which make my researcher heart go pitter patter. Sometimes I get lost in the research of the written word forgetting to listen for the revealed word of God, a personal word, or revelation of what I’ve read. But other times, the Holy Spirit says, “Dig deeper.” Or he’ll say, “Betcha never thought to look up this word. Go ahead. I’ll wait.”

And that’s all it takes to blow my mind and send me into a tail spin of all I thought I knew! This very thing happened just after Thanksgiving.

Let me give you the background story.

I returned to work in late spring. We conducted business like most everyone else-video conferencing. Spring, a time meant for new life and fresh beginnings, was stolen for many and summer, a season of infinite possibilities and playful fun seemed inaccessible. We had tried several times to “get away”. We had reservations in New Mexico just before they shut down to visitors. A planned fishing trip was cancelled because of a hurricane.

Before any of this my dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He was given little hope from the doctors. But a surgeon was willing to take a chance on him and he had one whole lung removed. Then there was the chemo. He made it through two rounds before he became so weak, frail, and grey we feared for his life. He just seemed so small. Dad made the decision to stop chemo.

His strength began to return. But by the end of summer he became so ill he refused to eat. He was dehydrated and wasn’t drinking enough. His doctor told him he had bacterial pneumonia. His oxygen levels and his heart rate were dangerously low. One night he became so weak my Mom and my sister called for an ambulance. They believe had they not called we would have lost him that night. At the hospital he tested positive for COVID-19. The medical staff discussed putting him on a ventilator. The decision to be placed on a ventilator was a difficult one for Dad. Miraculously, the next morning his oxygen levels had risen. The ventilator was no longer a need. But dad spent weeks in the hospital and even more weeks in two different rehabs. None of us could visit him but we were able to see him through a window and talk to him on the phone. He was away from home for months, but is home now, learning to walk again. He’s doing great with his wheelchair and walker.

Most recently my 93 year old grandfather, who I do not see as often as I wold like because of the travel time, tested positive and was placed in a hospital. My grandmother, aunt and uncle also tested positive but recovered.

During all this I was dealing with a reaction to a flu vaccine I had taken in September. Initially, I experienced swelling and itching at the injection site. But within a week I began experiencing knots and rashes from my head to my feet, face and hand numbness, lethargy, joint pain and swelling, heat sensitivity, swelling of my hands to the point I could not make a fist, and finally my skin peeled off the palms of my hands. Uncertain of the cause, I was referred to a specialist who ordered a biopsy and blood tests and kept the symptoms at bay with steroids. I had none of the auto-immune disorders he thought a possibility. All tests pointed to the probability of a reaction to the flu vaccine.

My husband was troubled and concerned about my health. At his request, we began to take the Lord’s Supper every night; remembering what His blood had bought for us at the cross and thanking Him for the stripes he bore upon his body for our healing. After doing this for several weeks I began to search the scriptures for words on thankfulness and gratefulness in correlation with Thanksgiving. I read Collossians 3:15.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Col 3:15 NLT

I felt a prompting to look up the Greek for this scripture. When my eyes scanned the page I saw the word ‘eucharistoi’ translated as thankful! WHAT??!!! “Wait,” my heart cried while my mind reeled, “We’ve been practicing what we call communion or the ‘Lord’s Supper’ together for weeks now and here I see it!” Eucharist!

Now, there is a a great deal of theological information out there regarding this matter. I’m not here to discuss theology. I want to tell you what it meant for me to see this word at this moment. I am called to be thankful for the grace and favor of God, which not only provided a way for me to dwell in Christ and He in me, but set me in a family, a body-the body of Christ, with whom I am called to be in communion. If I read the entire chapter in context, I see I am called to set my mind on things of heaven and not of earth-to “throw off anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language” and to clothe myself in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”.

I see I am to be thankful not only for the work of Christ at the cross for me alone, but for the work of Christ at the cross which tells me I am never alone. I do not walk this path alone. If you feel you are, know this: YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO DO SO.

You may not have a husband who walks every step with you, prays with and for you daily; or a family with whom you can gather at Thanksgiving to express your gratefulness. But, if you are in Christ, you have been placed in a body-a family. Don’t wait for them to find you. Jesus tells us to Go. So go.

Determine today to foster a heart of gratefulness. Allow this thankfulness to settle in your spirit and express your gratitude to the giver of life. Thankful people attract other thankful people.

Gratefulness is a choice which we make daily, all year long, not just on Thanksgiving.

So, as we enter into another season, “Let the peace of God rule your heart. And be thankful!”

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