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Gratitude and Thanksgiving

This collection of poems, short stories, historical rememberings, and prayers is a great guide to seeing gratitude displayed in written form. From the short poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and William Blake to the short stories by Louisa May Alcott and Sister Bridget Haase, withi. these pages are reminders that thankfulness to God and to others is not limited by time and circumstance. Rather, thankfulness, the act of being thankful should cover over all of life, keeping us from wallowing in guilt, self-pity and meaninglessness.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the short story by Sister Bridget Haase about a time when she was living in West Virginia. The story really tugged at my heart because of the message that explains at the end of the book. Without giving away the story, she writes about her experience with a family as poor as they come in the state of West Virginia and how the family exhibits thankfulness beyond measure as she sits down with them for a Thanksgiving meal. I was truly amazed at the gratitude and heart of thanks these people shared with a little church lady. The story that Sister Haase is worth the entire book not only because of her being with these people, but also the fact that many times we think we are blessing someone but in return become the one who is blessed by others.

I was glad to see prayers from different denominations included in the prayers of thanksgiving and also references from the Psalms and 1st book of Chronicles. While reading through this book, I was reminded that the Christian tradition, both Protestant and Catholic has a rich history of thinking on the theme of thanksgiving and gratitude. In saying this, we must be reminded that the prayers of faithful believers is not just a nice witness to faith, but a practice to enacted, a lesson to explore on our own, with others and in our own time. Lastly, this book is a great way to reflect on the bounty and goodness of God in the midst of going through life without recognizing God's goodness in both his gifts but also the glory of his creation.

Overall, I was very pleased with this book as a resource to turn for prayers and reminders of God's provision and kindess to his people. I wasn't always sure how some of the poetry reflected this theme, but I found them to be beautiful nonetheless. I heartily endorse this book as another reminder to see the creation and goodness of God in what he has made.

Thanks to Paraclete Press for the review copy.


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