Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  First Thessalonians 5:16-18

I find some challenging instructions in this letter from Paul to the Thessalonians. Part of being human is experiencing a wide range of emotions. Are we to be grateful when tragedy strikes?  Maybe what Paul is saying is that we can be grateful to God in all circumstances rather than for them. We can be sad and grateful at the same time as we recognize that gratitude to God is a source of healing.  Underneath every circumstance is an unconditional love that will never let us go. No matter what we are going through or feeling, we are held by God. Our responsive scripture reading on November 27th was Psalm 148 and surely reminds us of the many gifts we can be grateful for as we see the miracles of beauty and wonder all around us.

Gracious God, thank you for always loving us. Thank you for the gift of emotions that can guide us and teach us. Help us trust that through all the circumstances in life, whether the journey is easy or difficult, your abiding presence is with us. We will never stop being grateful. Amen