“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

The Greek word translated thanks in this verse is eucharisteo, meaning to be grateful, to express gratitude. If the word looks familiar, it’s because we use it to describe the sacramental meal we also call communion, the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, we obey Christ’s command to remember him. We proclaim, in the words of the liturgy, his resurrection. And when we give thanks, when we be grateful, when we eucharisteo: do we not proclaim Christ’s presence in the world, do we not feast on the goodness of his presence with us?

What are you grateful for today? What if giving thanks is not just a way to feel better, but a way to shine the light of Jesus in a dark world, to proclaim his resurrection?

Outside, the snow is not so much falling as swirling, driven in cloud-like, dancing sheets. The much talked about storm gathers strength, after a slow but steady morning with just an inch or two of accumulation and ordinary (for chicago) winds. A foot or more of snow, combined with fierce winds, is supposed to fall in the next day or so.

School is already cancelled for tomorrow, and the kids will be on the bus heading home soon. The kids are rejoicing that they have a snow day tomorrow. I’m thankful that I got up early to put a beef stew together in the crock pot, so dinner is not only taken care of, but is perfuming the house with a beef and garlic fragrance that’s wonderfully welcoming on this stormy afternoon.

I work full-time, but typically only two days a week outside the home. I wemt to work this morning but headed home early today to beat the storm. Today’s gratitude is for the roof over our heads, for heat and light (which will hopefully stay on during the storm!!), for food on the table. Self-employment can be a financial and emotional roller coaster, but on snow days, it’s at the top of my “thank you” list.

In the midst of the storms of your life, what will you rejoice over, pray about and give thanks for?