Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” John 21:3
Have you ever had a slow day on the stream? Or, maybe, you’ve had a day, in which you fished for hours and never caught a thing, not so much as even a nibble?
I have. You get up early, load the car, make the drive. The whole way there you’re dreaming about the beautiful fish you’ll surely catch. And then, after the cold feet and countless casts, the total tally of trout is zero.
Utter devastation, right? Debilitating disappointment, surely! No, actually, it doesn’t work that way at all. As I wandered back to my car, if someone asked, “Did you get anything?” I’d gladly tell the truth, “Nope, not a thing.”
But I know, in my heart of hearts, that’s not true. I “got” more out of that experience than you can possibly imagine. Just being there is the thing. Having the uninterrupted time to relish the glories of God’s bewilderingly beautiful creation, what a gift. After a tough day on the stream, my creel might be empty, but my heart is always full.
I share that anecdote with you, because I approach the Thanksgiving holiday the same way I approach a stream. I have no expectations. I am always already thankful.
If the mashed potatoes are cold, and Uncle Larry is late, and the weather is questionable… so be it, I will be grateful anyway, grateful just to be present. Grateful to know the people I know, to love the God I love, and to daily live as a direct beneficiary of God’s goodness.
But I should note, there is one little difference between a tough day on the stream and Thanksgiving… when it’s all said and done, I’ll do my best to walk away from the Thanksgiving table with not only a heart that is full, but a belly that is full as well!
Question for reflection: What are you particularly grateful for this year?
Yours in Christ,
The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living creature. Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and all the gifts, which we receive from your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. - adapted from Luther’s, Small Catechism