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"Learning to give thanks is a spiritual practice that enables us to hold an empty glass and know full well just how empty it is, yet still marvel at how the solitary drop of water at the very bottom of the plays with the light. The gift of thanksgiving is the capacity to see beauty and hope even in our times of emptiness. It is choosing to go through life with the Doxology as our theme song.

"...Sometimes, at the end of a particularly discouraging day, I fall into bed in a funk. That is a key moment of spiritual discipline for me: I consciously call to mind all the things in the day for which I can be grateful. My mental list usually begins in a disgruntled way, starting with the obvious: I have a warm bed, a place to live, indoor plumbing. The more I go on, the more my recitation has a snowball effect. I recall how invigorating the rain felt on my face when I was walking home without an umbrella. ... Or how beautiful the bare trees looked, silhouetted against the glowing western sky, as I was driving to an evening meeting I didn't really want to attend.

"Soon the hardness in my chest has dissipated. ... My attitude is transfomed. And I discover anew again that thanks isn't something we give. It is something that gives to us. It is the alchemy that can transform the dross of our mundane lives into shimmering gold that reflects something holy. And my heart begins to sing, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow. ...' "

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What's coming to light about Thanksgiving
November 25, 2002

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