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Living in a spirit of gratitude

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— Psalm 103.2

In my personal devotions this morning I was directed towards the experience of some refugees in a displacement camp who were provided with a shower. One spoke of her joy at being able to wash before church and after work. What so many take for granted was, for her and her fellow residents, a precious gift resorting their dignity. It was a Christian charity whose service is motivated by the love of God which provided that shower and so it was received as a gift from God.

As Creator of everything who made humankind in his own image, God is the ultimate source of every gift. We can take that for granted and focus on what we lack, which makes for an impoverished life. Or we can appreciate everything and live in a state of wonder and gratitude, amazed by the richness of God's grace. Easier said than done, of course. Not everyone in desperate straits would show the cheerful resilience of the aforementioned refugees. Mental illness and/ or a melancholy disposition makes it harder to see the glimmer through the gloom.

Yet, whatever our condition, can we not orient ourselves towards gratitude by heeding the Psalmist's exhortation? At the very least calling to mind what is good in our lives and in our surroundings presents us with evidence of our being blessed and, more importantly, of the source of that blessing. And it gets better... because, in his graciousness, God does not only showers us with gifts, he gives us his own presence - to accompany us so that we are never alone and to walk us home to our eternal refuge.



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