Our theme for the month of November is “Blessings”, and I find myself asking “What can I say about blessings that hasn’t already been said a million times?” I admit- I probably have nothing to say about blessings that you haven’t already said yourself or heard said far better than I ever could. But that’s not going to stop me from writing this! So here goes:
Each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving our congregation has our annual “Count Your Blessings” potluck, and we’ll certainly have it again this year. It kicks off the “Holiday Season” and I look forward to it each year.
We’ve heard the word “blessings” so often, in so many contexts, perhaps we’ve become “immune” to the it. Are some more valid than others? After all, people use it in all sorts of contexts varying from the silly (saying “bless you”
when somebody sneezes) to the profound (“Choose to bless the world in the spirit of love”). Perhaps all of those ways are valid, so I shouldn’t disparage any of them. (I am reminded of Humpty Dumpty’s line from Alice in Wonderful: “When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean, neither more nor less.”)
In any case, what “blessings” will you include when you count your blessings?
Do you include your family? Many of us do, but for many of us, family is a “mixed blessing” at best, and for some, family doesn’t feel like any kind of blessing. Relationships of any kind can range from wonderful to toxic, from a blessing to… something else.
For some, good health is one they might consider, while that may not be true for all. For some, it’s a comfortable place to live, even as others are struggling.
The other night I was lying in bed, preparing for sleep (You know that quiet moment when your body has settled down, you’re relaxed, and your mind just sort of drifts along). And, as I was lying there, I began to think about the many “blessings” in my life. Some are certainly trivial- I’ve got
chocolate cake on hand (which shouldn’t be underestimated, in my humble opinion!). But others are more important- I live in a community of relative safety, I have friends and family whom I love, and I don’t have to worry too much about where my next meal is coming from.
And I thought about the people who have blessed my life. Some were nameless strangers who simply did something lovely that touched my heart. Others were people who had a profound impact on my life, and still others were simply dear friends whom I love just for being themselves.
There have been so many! Good, decent, kind, loving people who have blessed my life in ways large and small!
And I am so grateful. Grateful that I have had the opportunities I’ve been given, grateful to have met you, my beloved community here at UUFS, and grateful for the many beautiful souls that graced my life.
It seems to me that blessings and gratitude go together like peanut butter and jelly. When you realize the blessings in your life, you almost can’t help but be grateful. And when you are grateful for what you have, you realize that
those things have, in fact, blessed your life. And that, my friends, is what “thanksgiving” is all about, don’t you think?
Wishing you peace and blessings, Rev John