At year's end it is the time to give thanks for kindnesses
We are in that strange in-between time: too late to send any Christmas cards to neighbours you over-looked and too soon to start linking hands with strangers and singing Auld Lang Syne. As a child this was the time when I had to write my "thank-you letters". Christmas morning was punctuated with cries from my mother to "Keep the tag" so that we would know who should receive a letter in the next few days. My older brother and I would share out the responsibilities and, about this time we would settle down to our appointed tasks. Do children still write letters or is it all done by text, tweets and other technology that leaves my head reeling?
However those thanks might be expressed I do hope that it still happens. I don't give presents in order to be thanked but it is always good to receive a note to say that the gift has been appreciated.
In Jesus' day thanks seemed to be in short supply. When ten people with a skin disease are healed by Jesus there is only one who returns to give thanks. At the other end of the Bible the first thing we are told that Noah does when he leaves the ark is to give thanks.
It may be a little early for New Year's resolutions but perhaps giving thanks might be something we commit ourselves to in the coming year. It occurs to me that there are so many opportunities each day when we are on the receiving end of the service, care, support, kindness and love of others. How often do we acknowledge this? Do the people who in little ways make a difference to our lives know that they are appreciated?
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When writing to the church at Thessalonica Paul encouraged the early Christians to "give thanks in all circumstances". In this in-between time perhaps we could all reflect on the last twelve months and pick out one or two people who have made a difference to us and, whether by letter, phone call, visit or e.mail, we can say "Thank you".
Malc' Halliday is Centre Manager of the Christian Resources Project, Plymouth firstname.lastname@example.org