‘Count your blessings!’

Henri Nouwen points out that we often divide our experiences of life into good things to remember with gratitude and painful things to accept, forget or even resent. However, he says, gratitude can be more than a response to good things: it can be lived as a discipline. He writes,

“The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”

Practising this discipline, we can choose to give thanks rather than to complain. On the night before he died, Jesus was in the upper room with his friends. He took the bread and the cup, and he gave thanks. This was done with a complete awareness of all that was symbolised by the bread and wine and of what was to happen to him the following day on the cross.

Can we approach the day, which may have good and bad moments, with the same attitude? Can we approach days that we know will be a nightmare with the same attitude? This is not easy but the scriptures encourage us to do exactly that.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5)

May God give us the ability to ‘count our blessings’ in good times as well as in bad.

God bless.

Reverend Dave

(Excerpt from ‘Another Day’ reflections from The Stapleford Centre)