Yes, I know it's been a while. Life got incredibly chaotic with my Father's illness progressing and just the whole autumn term madness. Our church leader began writing some very short daily bible notes for the church email list and asked others to take a turn in writing a set. I jumped in and did so. It was an interesting process as when I first approached it I ummed and ahhed and procrastinated "So, do I take a section of bible text and work through it, or do I take a theme and work through that?" "Oh I don't know, what would you want me to do Lord." And I got the distinct impression that the Lord clearly said "I am NOT going to hold your hand through this, you make the decision. Yes, of course I want you to do the work to make sure you get it right, do the study, but I am not going to tell you every step of the way what to do, you are old enough to do this yourself." OUCH! But a good ouch, because I needed that.
Anyway, that's the reason you're reading this out of schedule with when it was written for. I couldn't put them here on my blog until I knew they had been read on the church email list. I needed to let them read them first. That finished last week and so here they are, for your reading pleasure.
At the time I am writing this, last week saw the celebration of Thanksgiving in America. This coming Sunday sees the start of advent. I've been thinking about how the two are connected and want to share that journey with you this week. So, although advent will have started and may even be over by the time you read these, please come with me on a journey from Thanksgiving to Advent, from Thankfulness to Hope and Anticipation.
The first time we see giving thanks or being thankful mentioned in the bible is in Leviticus when the instructions for the various sacrifices are being given.
Sacrifices To Ask the Lord’s Blessing
The Lord said:
11 Here are the instructions for offering a sacrifice to ask my blessing: 12 If you offer it to give thanks, you must offer some bread together with it. Use the finest flour to make three kinds of bread without yeast—two in the form of loaves mixed with olive oil and one in the form of thin wafers brushed with oil. 13 You must also make some bread with yeast.14 Give me one loaf or wafer from each of these four kinds of bread, after which they will belong to the priest who splattered the blood against the bronze altar.
15 When you offer an animal to ask a blessing from me or to thank me, the meat belongs to you, but it must be eaten the same day. 16 It is different with the sacrifices you offer when you make me a promise or voluntarily give me something. The meat from those sacrifices may be kept and eaten the next day,
The thing that strikes me most about this is that it has to be eaten that day. The other sacrifices, the ones to fulfil a promise to God or just giving freely to God can be kept over to a 2nd day. Offerings of thanks had to be eaten that day!
Thankfulness is meant to be a frequent thing, even a daily thing.
Over the last few years I have been part of a large group of people who have tried to keep a thankfulness list online. In the beginning it started with one woman trying to get up to 1000 gifts and eventually resulted in the book 1000 gifts as she recounts her journey into thankfulness through often difficult circumstances. (Obviously most of my blog readers will know the blog and book of which I speak, but people at church would not)
I have found that the practise of thankfulness draws me to God, draws me to see His hand at work, even when it might not seem to be to human eyes.
I know for a lot of people at the moment things are tough, circumstances and situations would shout to us “What on earth do you have to be thankful for?” Maybe, just maybe, there is something you can be thankful for today. I’m not suggesting you be thankful for the tough stuff, although that is OK, just start small. You don’t have to aim for a big number like 1000, you don’t even have to make a list at all, you can start with just one thing. What are you thankful for today?
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