Today is the first anniversary of this blog. I post an article every Friday, and today I have posted two – a review of the last year with a list of the top ten articles, and then this article on gratitude. Scroll down to the article prior to this one for the review.
My first article was Real Thanksgiving, Better Love. I shared that gratitude is vital to relationships, and that gratitude helps turn Good Love into Better Love. I also shared that the Spanish term for Thanksgiving, translated literally back to English gives us “action of thanks.” This reminds me that I have to take action to truly express my gratitude to someone. I posted an article in January called Actions Speak Louder Than Words, and discussed some of my favorite Spanish refranes.
Today I want to expand on my thoughts on Thanksgiving, and the Spanish term for it. The word for thanks is gracias, which you might think is the plural of gracia. And the English translation of gracia is “grace.” Back in December, in What You Never Knew About Grace, I talked about two unusual uses in Spain for the term “grace.” The English use, from the 12th century, of “grace” was “God’s favor or help.”
As we approach Thanksgiving again, I find myself thinking about what I want to give thanks for, what actions I want to take, what actions of thanks. People often say that “grace” is unmerited mercy, and that it expresses kindness and favor for the benefit of someone. The root verb in Greek that “grace” comes from means to rejoice, to be glad, to be delighted. I find myself feeling thankful for family. That includes all the Good and Better Love shared with wife, parents, kids, uncles and cousins after forty years, and good friends.
Back in August, I shared three deathly scares my son Matt gave us in Spain, in Lucky to Have Good Kids With Good Love – chapter 1. I also talked about how perfectly timed sets of circumstances qualify for the term “miracle.” This past year I have experienced several miracles with those I love, in both good and bad circumstances. But on further reflection I believe that all the things that lead me to want to take action of thanks and all the miracles I recognize are really results of grace. While I may be motivated to take actions of thanks with family, or with the great bosses I talked about last week, the things that result in that motivation are all products of God’s grace. These things are not necessarily deserved by me, but I believe I have received them as an expression of God’s mercy and kindness. What’s more, these things indeed provide joy, gladness, and delight.
Our point of reference is always important. In April I got a little technical in Good Love – An Engineer’s Point of Reference, talking about how sometimes electronic standards aren’t so standard. And in May I talked about the point of reference related to givers and takers, expressed in a French proverb, in the article More on the Point of Reference and the Deceitful Heart.
I have shared that Best Love is demonstrated by God’s Love, the love God demonstrated to us by His action of giving His Son, providing forgiveness and eternal life. But the point of reference in that case is what God has transmitted to me, what I have received, what God has given, and what I have taken. So this year I want to change my point of reference and reflect on what I want to give and transmit to God. In addition to taking action to thank friends and family, I want to take action to thank God.
I want to thank God for his grace in providing all the things that prompt me to give thanks to others. But I also want to take action to thank God, by demonstrating with actions, not just words, that I also love him. Action means building the relationship, with study and prayer. Action means following and obeying. Action means giving, not just taking. I have found that the sooner that action is taken, the better.
What about you? Over the past year, what are you grateful for? Who are you prompted to take action to thank? What are you waiting for?