O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever! –Psalm 118:1 (NRSV)
When I am feeling a little blue or worried in the middle of the night, I sometimes stop the negative thoughts by attempting to list 25 things for which I am grateful. The list can be wild or seemingly insignificant–whatever occurs to me at the time. I am thankful for a lush tomato from the garden, the color lavender, the scent of bread baking; for specific people/relationships in my life; for time alone with God and time together with others to celebrate. By the time I list 25 things, whatever was bothering me seems a less significant.
The above verse from Psalm 118 reminds me that one thing to be grateful for is the way God loves us no matter what. We sin, we hurt ourselves or others, we make mistakes–and yet, God’s love is ever-present, ever-faithful, ever-merciful.
In the original Hebrew of Psalm 118, the word for “steadfast love” is checed (pronounced kheh’ – sed ). Checed or hesed, as it is sometimes written in English, is translated various ways depending upon the bible translation and the particular context of the bible verse. Sometimes it reads like this:
O give thanks to the Lord; for [he is] good:
because his mercy [endureth] for ever. –Psalm 118:1 (KJV–my underline)
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good:
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. –Psalm 118:1 (NASB–my underline)
Checed can be translated all of these ways. God is good, and God’s faithful love, kindness, and mercy are all everlasting.*
Thanksgiving is a time of offering prayers of thanks for many things. Most often, we thank God for the food on the table, a roof over our heads, our family and friends, our health, our jobs. These are all good prayers of thanks.
But the bible verse above makes me wonder: when have I ever thanked God for his love? Have I told God I appreciate his presence in my life? Have I expressed thanksgiving for the good Lord’s compassion, his kindness, his mercy and forgiveness?
Thank you, God, for your blessings this Thanksgiving–and thank you even more for the gift of Yourself, given to us through the sacraments, the Word of Scripture, the beauty of nature and other people, and your Spirit deep within our hearts.
Until next time, Blessed Thanksgiving!
* Note: Information on checed was found in the Blue Letter Bible online using the bible verse and Hebrew lexicon.
Also note: You can now print off these reflections, email them to others, Facebook or Twitter, using new features of WordPress at the Spiritual Drawing Board shown at the end of each post. (If you have trouble with printing using your server–as I did–try using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox servers.)