“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
Do you remember as a child being excited about the little things, things that seemed to lose their appeal as you got older? Remember the wonder of a shiny rock, the miracle of an extra big earthworm, or the satisfaction of making a big mud pie that stayed together long enough to bring it into the house to show your parents. Such joy!
In these challenging and unusual days, joy might be hard to come by. We’re still grieving what we’ve lost in the last few months like getting together with family for holidays, sending the kids to school without anxiety, spontaneous outings to a restaurant or a movie, or a stress-free trip to the grocery store.
The first followers of Jesus faced many challenges too. They lived under an oppressive regime, there were no social services, and the early church was still trying to figure out how to best serve God with a diverse group of people. One of their leaders, Paul, wrote letters to teach, encourage, and help them. For Christians, we read those letters today in the Bible to find strength in our own struggles and to be reminded to have a spirit of joyful gratitude. “Rejoice”, he said.
Rejoicing doesn’t mean we’re going to be happy all the time, but it means that despite all the challenges, we can be grateful for all those things that lead to joy. It might be something simple like the leaves changing colour, apples and pumpkins ready for picking, and fall sunsets that give us a lightshow. I pray that this Thanksgiving weekend you will know joyful gratitude and rejoice in the little things.