Thanks should be very much part of our relationship with God which we call prayer. The letter T in the idea of “acts” of prayer reminds us of this.
A couple are quietly celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. One of them gives a beautifully wrapped present to the other with the simple words “Thanks for everything”.
However, in every relationship there are times when things will not have been as close as we would have wished. Even in the most loving human relationships there will be disputes and even angry exchanges. So what does the person mean when they say “thanks for everything”?
They are really saying that when everything is taken into consideration, they are still filled with thankfulness For this reason the root word thanks often has the additions “full” and “fullness”. When we know how much we are loved, in spite of any difficulties, we are literally overflowing with thankfulness.
St. Paul says this when he uses the analogy that our relationship with Jesus should be like a plant rooted in good soil Col:2:6-7)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
In our precious quiet moments with God can we meaningfully say to Our Heavenly Father “Thanks for everything”?
So in the analogy what about the present that was given at the fiftieth wedding dinner? What can I give to God? The answer is ourselves….. but we should be “gift wrapped”!
On several occasions Paul writes that we should be Christ like, and not motivated by worldly desires. (So in Romans 13:14a) I give myself the God, but wrapped in Jesus.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,
“Giving” is another additional word added to thanks, making the word “thanksgiving”. The great act of worship that Jesus instructed us to do “in remembrance of me” is an act of thanksgiving – That is the meaning of the Greek word Eucharist. This is something we do together. It’s as if we move from our deeply personal loving encounter, and join a party with other members of the Christian family who are all carrying in their hearts the words “thanks for everything”. Indeed in some versions of the Eucharistic prayer we say “it is indeed right, and our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you Holy Father, Heavenly King”
“Duty and Joy”. Thanksgiving can sometimes be seen as an irksome duty. But we should not be like disgruntled children having to write letters of thanks to aunties and uncles for their birthday presents. Our thanks to God is not just an imposed duty. The Eucharistic prayer reminds us that it is also be a matter of great joy.
In our daily lives we frequently say “thanks”. It’s polite, but can be a mere formality said almost automatically. Alone or with others our thanksgiving to God should never be casual. Whether our thanks is about a very specific matter or much more general, it should be from the very depths of our being.
However it is expressed in our daily actions and words thanksgiving should be a heartfelt expression of our
Love to God “for everything”