The trees tell me that we are approaching Thanksgiving. One of the wonderful aspects of the Bay Area is how long autumn lasts. Where I lived before, fall lasted about three weeks – and that was if a big wind didn’t come up and blow all the leaves off the trees sooner.
So I am enjoying my first Los Altos fall very much. Fall also reminds me of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a great reminder that we are to be thankful for what God has given us. Most of the time we aren’t – or at least I’m not as thankful as I ought to be.
Like many Americans, there is something in me that wants to say to the world, “Look at me, look at what I have done, I am powerful and important,” when everything I have is a gift from God. My intellect, such as it is, is a gift from God. My physical body that allows me to work and hike also is a gift from God. My creativity and passion, my joy and contentment – all gifts from God. And I don’t say thank you enough to God.
In America, we take so much for granted: that water will come out of the tap when I need it, that the lights will come on when I flip the switch, that there will be food at the store when I go to find dinner, that the police will come when I need help and that the waste in my house is taken away and carefully processed rather than being dumped into a local stream.
I have been to Africa on mission trips; I know people who don’t have any of these luxuries. They live in small huts, cook over open fires and use light that comes from a candle or, more often, only from the sun.
So, however this year has gone for you, you are fantastically blessed compared to most of the world. Take some time to be grateful, to pray and thank God for the ways He has blessed you. In fact, it might be good to buy some food for a homeless shelter or purchase a gift during Christmas for a child who needs to feel wanted this year.
It is always appropriate to respond to God for what He has done for you. If you need to yell at Him, He can handle that. But if you need to say thanks, go ahead and do it this year. Be grateful and do something for someone else out of gratitude.
The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.