Psalm 131: 1 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.3 O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
V.2 above gets my attention. I suppose it’s because we are so close to Thanksgiving, a time at which we are expected to gather with loved ones and give thanks for all of the blessings we enjoy – usually over a Thanksgiving meal. You may recognize the picture here from Norman Rockwell called, “Thanksgiving”. If you look closely at the picture you’ll see lots of smiling faces from people of all ages, and an enormous turkey being placed on the table. It’s a picture of peace, of joy, of love, of abundance, capturing the spirit of the holiday. That said, it appears more aspirational to me than real.
The gathering many of us will attend will fall short of this ideal. Not everyone will be smiling. Some of those we love will not be present due to other commitments, or family conflict, or even death. There’s a reason the holiday season is a time of deep despair for many people. I expect the psalmist understood what it means to live in a reality which falls short of the ideal.
Yet even so, he has “calmed and quieted my soul”. And how does he do this? He finds “hope in the Lord” (v.3). This is speaking to me this morning. This week I’ll gather with loved ones as will many of you. We will enjoy a meal, watch some football, and catch up with one another. And, yes, there will be some who are not in attendance due to other commitments or because they’ve gone home to be with the Lord. They will be deeply missed. Yet, despite this, my loved ones and I have much to be thankful for.
Heavenly Father it’s true that our lives are far from perfect, but we still enjoy so much blessing. Give us hearts that focus on what’s right rather than what’s wrong. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 thoughts on “Giving thanks…”
Dear Pastor Ernie, your devotional was beautifully said! There are many of God’s blessings in each day even in the hard, difficult days and moments.
Right on! Focusing on the positive and not the negative, is what Daughter Mimi keeps telling me as I advocate and intervene and interpret for Ralph at the Care Center where he is now living. There are both sides of each issue. I get a lot of positive vibes and support from a few people there and they shine like the sun on a stormy day. Lifts me above myself and my worry weights I drag around.
Thanksgiving to God Almighty is Happy.