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Partners In Prayer Newsletter

Advent 2002

Gratitude, The Food for the Loving Heart

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say; Rejoice." Philippians 4:4

Every day of our lives we are feeding our hearts. Now, I'm not talking about feeding the actual muscle in the body that pumps blood and life through our bodies, but our spiritual hearts-our souls, our beings. Every day our hearts are being fed and the result of the nourishment or the empty calories we consume determines the kind of persons we are becoming.

Some days it's all empty calories for me. My focus is on what needs to be done or hasn't been done. I see only the 10% that needs some work and miss the 90% that is fantastic or, at least, okay. I'm hurried, worried and concerned about what might happen next, what could go wrong or why someone hasn't done what they could do. I see the missing faces and take for granted the wonder and joy of the hundreds of other faces that are here.

Enough days of empty calories and pretty soon my heart and soul are hardened, hungry for something more. Then something surprising happens. A kind word is spoken. A rainbow appears for a fleeting moment. I hear the bees buzzing in the garden. The sweet voice of a child lifted up in song touches my ear. I hear or read a good joke. Laughter breaks through the outer edges of the hardness. I start noticing the 90%-a family to love and to love me; a church home pulsing and growing with the love of God; challenging and fulfilling ministry; friends; the beauty and variety of the creation; hundreds of voices singing to God together on Sunday morning; hands reaching up to receive the bread and the wine; strangers no more, kneeling together in God's presence and grace.

My heart is filled and grows with the goodness of the life that God has given me and has given you. Sometimes it brims over and pushes me to the edge of tears. I am grateful.

Gratitude is the food for the heart. Whether it is an attitude that we develop or just a consciousness of the many gifts in our lives, gratitude is what feeds the heart and allows us to grow to become the persons God has made us to be. And when we make it our practice and our goal to give thanks, to rejoice always, then our hearts grow because they are being fed good food.

I invite you to eat well today and every day. Give thanks to God in everything great and small. Count your blessings. Remember the 90% and let the 10% slide. Let your heart be fed with the good food of gratitude.

Written by the Reverend W. Frank Allen, Rector, St. David's Episcopal Church, Radnor, PA. Reprinted with permission.

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