I remember … my father coming home, tall and handsome in his navy uniform, setting down his duffle bag full of gifts from far away places and sweeping me up in his arms. I remember my mother, lovely in a fresh summer dress, pearled and perfumed, her face aglow for her returned husband. I remember and I am thankful for parents who loved each other and us.
I remember … three sparkling moments when my babies were placed in my arms for the first time. Perfect, precious miracles carried within for months, now lodged in my heart forever. I remember the gift of motherhood and I am filled with gratitude for these children, birthed and nurtured.
I remember … a time of sorrow, stress and loss when my world tilted off balance. Every day I clung to God because I was too weak to face it alone. Always He met me in those hard, dark places, revealing the facets of His character like diamonds in the dust. I remember and I am thankful for God’s revelation of Himself to this lone, hurting woman.
Remembering is a channel of thanksgiving, a recounting of all the ways God has shown Himself to me. The urgent needs of the here and now can overwhelm but when pause is taken to remember His faithfulness, provision and care, peace comes. Yes, I remember when I didn’t know how I could afford to feed my children. Someone unaware of our need sent enough cash to get us through, but I remember it as God who provided.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds,” says the psalmist. (Ps. 9:1 NIV) His desire was to tell others about God’s wonderful deeds but I want to remember to tell myself. When life gets overwhelming and doubts arise, I need to recall the myriad of times and ways God broke in with undisputed evidence of His love for me. When I recall, then I trust. Again and again. Remembrance is a temporary focus that needs to be called forth often in order for it to benefit the present.
This was Jesus’ purpose when He instituted The Lord’s Supper. (Luke 22, 1 Cor.11) He knew it was the last time He would share a meal with His disciples before His crucifixion. He wanted to give them symbols to help them remember, representing His sacrificial death to redeem them from their sins. Using everyday emblems, He took bread, broke it and said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Then He took a cup of wine, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” So whenever they ate bread and drank from the cup in His honor, they would proclaim Jesus’ death until His return.
Jesus knew what fickle, forgetful memories we have so He gave us a way to always remember what He did for us. The magnitude of His gift of eternal life and forgiveness by His sacrificial death cannot be remembered without a sense of overflowing gratitude. That is why in some Christian traditions, partaking of the Lord’s Supper is called Eucharist, from the Greek word eucharisteo, meaning thanksgiving, with the root word charis. meaning grace, and the derivative chara, for joy.
My thanksgiving flows from a remembrance of grace-filled joy, undeserved mercy, overflowing love, all coming from the beneficent hands of my Father God and my Lord Jesus Christ. I desire thanksgiving to be the atmosphere of my days.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Cor. 9:15)