The act of giving thanks—whispered at each common meal, or once a year at family dinners on big holidays—is an early, hopeful flag that grace has come to live with us. For a moment—for one long, exhaling moment—we acknowledge the truth of what the apostle wrote 2000 years ago: “You are not your own: you have been bought with a price” (I Cor 6:19-20). For an instant, the guard is down, the drawbridge open, and we admit that we aren’t self-made or even self-sustained. The castle of our lives has always had a Guardian, a Protector. All that we are, and all we have, and every structure that secures us has been given, not deserved. Even what we say we’ve “earned” is undeniably built on gifts too numerous to count. When I say “thanks,” I confess that there is something—Someone—wider, bigger, and more gracious than any defense I muster or every good I do. So we learn grace through gratitude. And even as we teach our children to “Say thank-you,” the Spirit prompts us each to murmur private “Hallelujahs.” Throw wide the gates, and cross the moat. Release yourself. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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