A lot of things come to mind when I think of gratitude.  I’m grateful when I don’t get caught in a rainstorm when I’m not prepared, I’m grateful for the hugs and kisses from my grandchildren.  I’m thankful for my home and car, etc. etc.   But lately I’ve been questioning whether I am truly grateful in my heart.

     Have you ever thought about that?  At this time of year, we all tend to look back and even forward and express our thanks to God for all He has provided in our lives and that is a wonderful thing to do.  But is it just an expression, a few words you say?  Happy Thanksgiving! The words are everywhere.

     My heart is heavy this year, not because I am not grateful and thankful for all that God has provided in my life.  It’s been an amazing year in fact.  But this year is different. There’s always been too much commercialism around the holidays, but this year we aren’t even talking about Thanksgiving.  Look around, all the cities in our area have already lit the community Christmas trees, neighbors have put up their Christmas lights, but what happened to the special day of giving thanks and expressing gratitude to the one responsible for the very lives we live and whose earthly birth is the real reason for Christmas?

     I chose the words this month “Gratitude is born in hearts that remember past mercies” because it really expressed how I feel.  In order to be truly grateful, and thankful we need to go back and look at where we were and where we are today and how far God has brought us.  Many people think that they are responsible for how their lives are going, but I can speak from great experience, that God is always in control.  I can’t count the number of times that I have thought, “That’s it, I can’t do this anymore!” or “Why does everything bad happen to me and my family?”  Little did I know at the time, but God was working to use all my sadness and trials to make something beautiful that would honor him.

     This past year I have seen a 20-year feud between my husband and my daughter come to an end and that relationship restored to something I never could have imagined.  In fact, he walked her down the aisle and then performed her marriage ceremony right here at our church in October.  I am so grateful that God showed me how his past mercies in our lives were used to restore this relationship.  I know He can do anything.

     So during this Thanksgiving Season, sit quietly and reflect on the past mercies God has shown to you and let that gratefulness be born in your heart so you can truly express thankfulness to God for all He has done in your lives!

Val Pilcher