Thanksgiving Sunday Gratitude Journal

I paid a visit to one of our church seniors who has not been able to participate in worship as she once did. Yet while she feels physically weak in some ways, her spirit remains as strong as ever, for when I asked, “How are you?” she said, “I’m so grateful that I hardly know how to house it all!”

That’s how I felt last night–overwhelmed by gratitude bigger than a house! So for today here’s a look at what I wrote for my Thanksgiving Sunday Gratitude Journal.

Thank you for the beautiful basket of flowers that I found in my church office when I arrived this morning. What a lovely, thoughtful surprise to celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday!

Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on my 25 years of pastoral ministry. In spring when I shared with the church my growing conviction to complete my ministry at Emmanuel this November, I wasn’t sure what ending well would look like, but these last few weeks of sharing with the adult class have become an important part of my saying goodbye.

Thank you for a wonderful morning of worship with the church–for sunflowers from the garden decorating the sanctuary; for the imagination and creativity of the children presenting their large art project; for young adults sharing of serving and learning in Cambodia and Bangladesh and raising good questions around their experience; for donations of food to the Food Bank and Howe Middle School; for words of thanks from 1 Chronicles 16:8-11:

8 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him,
tell of all his wonderful works.
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength,
seek his presence continually.

Thank you for the luxury of an afternoon nap, and thank you for Gary who woke me up at 5:00 p.m. so I could get ready for the Vietnamese Church celebration in time for 5:30 p.m. Without him, I might have slept right through dinner!

Thank you for the Vietnamese Church and the special Thanksgiving service and farewell that they planned for tonight–a wonderful feast of Korean noodles, Chinese fried rice, hand-made Vietnamese spring rolls, Lao sticky rice crackers, and other special dishes; feasting on the Word with messages by two Vietnamese pastors; singing together and special music; a book giveaway of Four Gifts; generous love gifts; and many hugs, handshakes, smiles, and words of blessing.

Tonight one of the youth said to me, “When my dad said we were having a farewell for you, I wondered what had happened because I thought you had died!” Thank you that we could laugh about that, for your gift of good health and energy, for continued vision and growing edges.

Thanks be to God!

Writing/Reflection Prompt: Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends and readers! What’s on your gratitude list for this Thanksgiving?

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Sunday Gratitude Journal

    1. I don’t write in my gratitude journal every day, but when I do, it’s usually at the end of the day. Another friend says that she writes in her gratitude journal in the morning to set a positive tone for her day. Either way, a gratitude journal can be a helpful and positive practice!

  1. April, how well you are being celebrated as you transition to your new church home. Leaving is hard, and beginnings aren’t all that easy. Remember to gentle with your self, and please practice self-care. I used to keep a daily gratitude journal. Remembering why I stopped won’t come to me right now. But after the last two plus years of pain and facing yet another surgery, I have a lot to be thankful for and I need to write it down. Thanks for the loving nudge!

    1. Thank you, Sherrey, these are intense and wonderful days, and part of my self-care is to pace myself, so I appreciate the reminder. To find the place of gratitude even in the midst of suffering and challenge is most worthy of chronicling, so if you’re able to write down your thanks that would be a great gift.

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