Gratefulness and Thanksgiving
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
A cold rain falls outside my window, but inside it is warm and cozy, and I am thankful. Not just for the warmth that results from months of wood cutting, splitting, and hauling, but for the love that inspired it all, and for the faith, family, and friends that make life sweet.
It’s time to begin cooking, so I’ll be brief. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that each year, in a spirit of gratefulness and thanksgiving, I share the same poem, “Gratefulnesse” by George Herbert (1593-1633). Each year it reminds me anew to focus on things that matter. The poet, describing himself as “thy beggar,” begins by petitioning God for a grateful heart:
Thou that hast giv’n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a gratefull heart.
See how thy beggar works on thee
Herbert muses about God’s tender, patient reception of our “perpetuall knockings” at His door, and finishes with a touch of humor, reminding God that
“And in no quiet canst thou be,
Till I a thankfull heart obtain
Not thankfull, when it pleaseth me;
As if thy blessings had spare dayes:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Herbert’s love for God and understanding of Him as a gentle, patient “Abba, Father” shines through each line. God’s children ask “Gift upon gift,” yet he “didst allow us all our noise: / Nay, thou hast made a sigh and grone / Thy joyes.” Imagine.
You may read the entire poem at the Excellence in Literature site, or in Working it Out: Growing Spiritually with the Poetry of George Herbert, a beautiful devotional and poetry analysis resource.