COMMENTARY: BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT WE HAVE AND LOOK FORWARD WITH HOPE AND ANTICIPATION

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    BY STEPHEN RICHARD SEITZ-RETIRED MINISTER

    FROM EVANSVILLE, IND.

     November and December each year is a time when we are supposed to be thankful for all we have and also to look forward with hope and anticipation.  And I do.  However, it is sad that not all of us experience what these two months are designed for.  Here is where my feelings are today. 

    For me, November (specifically Thanksgiving Day) brings the reminder  that I am blessed with many things:  family, friends, and stuff.  And I truly am thankful that the genesis of Thanksgiving Day was intended to do just that – make me thankful.  At the same time, however, I am sad that thankfulness is not always on my mind directing my behavior.  I sometimes get so caught up with the busyness of living that the farthest thing from my heart is gratitude.  Instead, I foolishly think only of the harshness of the world, the disappointments either myself or a family member have experienced, or the injustices which befall many people.

    Again, for me, December (specifically Christmas Day) brings to mind that real hope lies in whether or not I am truly being guided by the faith which I profess and practice.  My faith is not, perhaps, the faith you choose.  Be that as it may, whatever your belief system is, my best guess is that it was designed to offer you hope and peace in the here and now.  That being said, I still too often develop a Santa Claus mindset in December which encourages me to concentrate more on buying and giving gifts to family and friends than in anticipating a closer relationship with God now and in the coming year.

    By this time you have, no doubt, come to the conclusion that I am far from being a perfect man.  I own up to it, I confess it!  To my way of thinking, the genius of AA or NA or any of several other “Twelve Step” programs that necessary first step is to admit to yourself that you are not in control of your life!  How can you be honest with others when you are unwilling to be honest with yourself?!?!  “I’m guilty, I’ve wronged God and others and, in the process, I’ve duped myself. I’ve cheated myself out of the love, joy, peace, and hope which God intends for me to enjoy!”     

    After sharing my inadequacies, I hope that you will join me in striving to do better in the days and years ahead.  This invitation, for me, is that I can live up to who I am and who I am supposed to be as a believer.  The invitation for you is, I hope, to come to the realization of the truth made by Augustine over a thousand years ago:

    “ . . . you have made us for yourself, and  our heart is restless until it rests in you.” 

    To my way of thinking Augustine was so very true!  There is nothing more important than knowing God.  It is what we are made for! 

    Grace and Peace!

     

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