A martial arts instructor teaches his students to guard against tunnel vision wherein one who is in active combat begins to focus on one feature of the fight or on one weakness of the opponent. He instructs his students to always be keenly aware of the whole arena and to orient himself to all that is happening around him with the opponent at any given time.
Like the athlete, we can focus on our proximate reality and forget that as Christians, we have awakened to an immense reality much more expansive than the immediate world to include the spiritual reality and life beyond physical death.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
C. S. Lewis
Thanks to the Giver
When the veil will finally be lifted and we can see our lives in the eternal plan of God, we will realize that all is gift from the love of God for us. We will understand the gravity of sin and the force of God’s love to redeem us. We will appreciate the purposes of the small and large details of our lives. Because we will have comprehended the greatness of God’s love and mercy for us, we will live eternity in deep gratitude and thanksgiving and praise of God.
While our eyes are still veiled, our hearts already taste the joy of the Holy Spirit and we can direct our hearts to always be thankful. We celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and take stock of all the blessings, all the relationships and all the people in our lives – and we say Thank You. For our very lives – Thank You. After Thanksgiving Day will be a parade of holy days and seasons: Feast of Christ the King, the season of Advent, feasts of several saints and the Christmas season. These are all joyous occasions when gratitude recognizes that all is gift, and there is a gracious Giver.
As we freely receive, let us freely give. Let us step back a bit before the holidays begin this year, let us give thanks to God, and explicitly express our thanks and appreciation to those who love us. Let us thank our spouses, family members, friends, co-workers. As God and others have been lavish to us, let us be generous in kindness, liberal in gentleness, open in affirmation, and ungrudging in care for those around us.
Our immediate reality may be filled with worry, disappointment or hurt and we may feel far from being thankful. Turn to God, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
In the reality within and beyond the walls of our hearts is the reality of God’s tender care for each one of us. He fixes His eyes on us. In His gaze is the whole arena of reality, and where for us – all is gift.