Gratitude is a difficult emotion, God.
So often I am told to thank you
for food and clothing, health and strength,
the beauty of nature, the privilege of freedom,
but I don't really feel grateful.
I go through the motions of thanks, nothing more.
Yet, when I consider,
there are many things for which I am thankful.
I thank you, Lord,
for moments of inspiration,
flashes of joy, glimpses of truth.
I thank you for the hidden strengths
that carry me through the stresses of each hour.
I thank you for peace and relaxation
at the close of a hard day's work,
for grace that surprises me now and then,
in the midst of living, and transforms it for an instant,
for the comfort and frankness and joy
of a few good friends.
I am grateful too, Lord,
that you have not abandoned me
to my own vanity, conceit and prejudice,
but have kept nagging away at the back of my mind
with hard choices, testing decisions,
the constant challenge, in all that I do,
to find my life in losing it.
Most of all, I thank you for Jesus Christ,
who opened himself to the utmost
that I might see true life in him,
fully lived out and fully died out.
For his life risen and living in me this day,
I thank you, God and rejoice.
-J. Barrie Shepherd