Overflowing with Gratitude

When I used to teach language and writing to GED students, we would often do an exercise together as a class to practice writing a five paragraph essay.

As the end of November approached, I usually chose the topic of Thanksgiving for our essay.  I thought that in this age of entitlement it might be a double "win" for the students to count their blessings and practice their writing.

To prepare for my lesson one year, I sent out an email to friends and colleagues for quotes about being thankful.  I received some great ones!

Some were fun:

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? Erma Bombeck

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump
May your yams be delicious
And may your pies take the prize
And may you Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs! 



Others, really profound:

Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of the vices. 
Thomas Fuller

The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts....nevertheless, they set aside a day of thanksgiving
H.W. Westermayer

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the others. 

And my personal favorite:

It's not the happy person who is thankful but the thankful person who is happy. 

But as always, God's Word takes the prize for the most profoundly sublime quote on being thankful.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 
Col 2:6-7

Let's meditate for a few moments on this beautiful phrase, overflowing with gratitude:

What does it mean to overflow?

A reservoir holds water.  When it rains too much or the snows in the mountains melt, the water flows over the edge.  When my husband John was a child he lived near the Roosevelt Dam.  When the dam spilled over, it was quite an event...a wonder to behold!

And that's what this word in the original language means:  to be in excess, to have more than enough, to super-abound...to overflow!

What is gratitude?

This word means appreciation, thanksgiving and and praise to God...and to others who have enriched our lives. After all,

...what do you have that you did not receive? 
1 Cor 4:7

The original word in Greek is eucharistia. In Christian liturgical traditions,

Eucharist is used in modern language for Holy Communion, embodying the highest act of thanksgiving for the greatest gift from God, the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is the grateful acknowledgement of past mercies. Spiro Zodiates

In fact, Jesus Himself gave thanks to the Father as He broke the bread and blessed the cup at the Last Supper with His disciples.  He acknowledged His Father as the Giver of every good gift and every perfect gift. James 1:17

So let us also, dear brothers and sisters, be a people overflowing with gratitude...not just at this season, but all year long!

Thanksgiving Exercises: 

  1. What 5 things can you thank God for right now? In your journal list them. Then chose one of the 5 and list 5 more. Keep going if you'd like.

  2. Have a time of family or personal communion, thanking the Father for the gift of His precious Son.

  3. Do this Bible study exercise:
    Read through the book of Colossians and find at least one verse in each chapter about giving thanks. Be sure to read the context to get the complete message.