The Ottawa Tulip Festival is more than just thousands of glorious tulips for tourists to come and look at each year. They are a gift of thanks from the Netherlands to Canada commemorating the significant role that Canada played in Holland’s liberation during the second world war and also providing asylum for the Dutch royal family. The tulips symbolize the continual gift of friendship between Canada and Holland since 1945. Whether it is between two countries or two people, friendships should be celebrated as meaningful and precious relationships that nourish the soul. Saying thank you and showing appreciation for friends and those we love is almost a forgotten virtue of courtesy these days. We have too many moments where our thoughtful words or small gifts of appreciation turn into missed opportunities to thank our friends. Like the gift of tulips, let’s remember to celebrate our friends and the great blessing that they are in our lives.
Statistics say that bad and hurtful memories are remembered easier and that happy ones are harder to remember. That means that it takes effort and intention to remember and count our blessings or else they soon become a distant memory or forgotten altogether. It pleases God when we remember His goodness to us over the past years of our lives and it is healing for us to go back and see how God was with us even in the painful memories. Let’s take the time to steward our memories well and also teach our children how to remember memories in a godly way. The ability to remember is a precious gift from God that should not be taken for granted. We never know when we may lose it or have it diminished with age or disease.
There is so much in the Lord that we can be truly thankful for, yet so much in the world that is truly vexing and grievous. Joy and sorrow, life and death – the great juxtaposition of the human soul. But through it all, we can hold fast and give thanks for this hope; Jesus Christ remains the life of our life. Holy Spirit continues to illumine and regenerate human hearts. And God the Father is good, his mercy is everlasting and his truth endures to all generations.
Noticing and giving thanks for the little things in our lives is like
releasing small balloons that buoy our spirit up, rising in to the
atmosphere of praise, and combining with the jet stream of adoration that
blows across the earth and into the heavenlies, to join with the continual
throng of praise and worship that is always before His throne. T. Long
Offering thanksgiving is when we open the gate and enter the garden. We
linger over the beauty of each flower that He tended to, and we savour the fragrance
of His faithful provision and grace. We sit and visit with the Gardener.
Thanksgiving and gratitude activates the heart to kneel before the Gardener,and initiates a divine exchange where our pride and self-sufficiency
is increasingly replaced by a spirit of total dependency on the Him for all things.
In terms of our day to day lives, our scales of gratitude are balanced when the weight of our thanksgiving response to God is equal to the weight of our petitioning to Him for that same provision, intervention or answer to prayer. But so often our response weighs in light, and then we move on to the next petition.
In terms of our lifetime, our thanksgiving to God cannot possibly out- weigh the scales of His grace that He continues to extend to us for our redemption now and for eternity.
Yet in both cases, He is worthy of every effort we make to go beyond the simple words of thank you, and to truly learn the worth and meaning of what a heart-offering of gratitude looks like. Consistent thank offerings and creative expressions of thanks can become an attitude that becomes us. This week heading into national Thanksgiving, why not take a few moments to reflect on some of the thank you-worthy moments and blessings of our past and present. Have we moved on from them too quickly or said thanks too lightly? If so, let us re-visit them once again with rejoicing, and add a little more weight to the scales of our gratitude. T.Long