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Seize the Day

In Thornton Wilder’s three-act play, Our Town, a young woman named Emily dies in childbirth. The Stage Manager, who narrates the play,  gives Emily the choice of reliving one ordinary day of her life. Emily chooses her 12th birthday. Her expectations are shattered when she realizes that her family goes through the motions of life without really savouring what they have. Emily asks the Stage Manager: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”

The Stage Manager  replies: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

Saints and poets. Maybe.

There is an expression in Latin, Carpe Diem, which means “Seize the day.” The word seize implies a deliberate action on our part. What does it mean to seize the day? For some it may mean grabbing hold of every part of it, being in control, moulding the day to their  wishes.12091393_10153140078465778_5869073415636498001_o

There is also a gentler meaning. When I was a child, my grandmother taught me the verse: “This is the day which  the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118: 24). From this perspective, we recognize that all the gifts in our life  come from God. We cannot live in the past nor the future. We can only live in the present. Regardless of our circumstances, we can rejoice, because God is with us and has equipped us with many blessings. We can “realize life while [we] live it,” by by focusing on our family and friends while they talk to us, rather than being distracted by things around us. We can take the time to deeply appreciate God’s created world, in all its beauty. We can read God’s Word, the highest form of worship, as my pastor says, and focus on his plan  for our lives. Life on this earth is finite, but we can grab every opportunity to take in all the joy and love, all the simple blessings, that each day brings. We can also practice forgiveness and not dwell on offences. Life is much  too short for grudges.

This Thanksgiving, seize and enjoy your time with family and friends. Thank God for all his blessings and be encouraged by the knowledge that there are many more to come.  “Realize life…every, every minute.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thankful Heart

Being an October 8th baby, the Thanksgiving season has always held associations of plenty and pleasure. As a child, the birthday parties were probably the most exciting part, but now, years later, this holiday season fills with me nostalgia and joy. Yes, winter is on its way, but the leaves are gloriously festive and remind us that the cold and ice are not just yet. Summer lingers, with a trace, here and there, of warm and carefree days. Fall reminds us to focus, not on the snow and grey clouds, which are bound to come, but on what is here, present with us, golden days of harvest and bounty.

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And so it is, with our hearts. My children, though grown, remind me that I am loved and valued, as we gather together to celebrate my birthday and Thanksgiving. What means the most to me is to see the wonderful adults they have become, each finding his or her way in life, and serving others through their own particular gifts and talents. For this, I am very grateful.

It is easy to focus on gratitude this week, with special family gatherings and our tables full of food. It may be easy to continue to focus on thanksgiving, as the stores fill with Christmas decorations, and the season of good will, of God come to earth, opens before us. However, during the sunless days of our lives, which come to us all, it can be just as  easy to forget that gratitude must be a way of living, and is as necessary to our well being as the food on our table or the water that we drink.

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One simple way to focus on what is right in your life is to keep a gratitude journal. Find a special notebook and write down each day one or two blessings. As you do this, you will find many reasons to be thankful, and a delightful cycle will develop. The more you are thankful for, the more blessings will come your way.

My prayer for you this Thanksgiving is that God will “give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed” (Psalm 20:4,NIV). May He bless you with the peace that comes from knowing that God is on your side!

Happy Thanksgiving!