Two Houses Converged
by Jill Carattini
As little girls in our Sunday dresses, we would crawl into the car anticipating the musical commute. Each Sunday we would sing that this was the day the LORD had made, crooning that we would rejoice and be glad in it. We were going to God's house and preparing our hearts along the way. Inherent in the day was an eager sense that it belonged to someone else, and none of us wanted to miss it.
Today as we gather around tables and family, many of us will again not want to miss the ambiance of the day. Inherent in the holiday is a call that bids us to stop and remember that there are blessings to acknowledge and days to rejoice and be glad in. In the spirit of thanksgiving, God's house seems to converge on our own, powerfully reminding us that there is one from whom all blessings flow. Today, like Sundays to a child anticipating God's presence, we see his touch on our lives, his ownership of the day, his presence in this moment, because we are looking for it.
The perspective of gratitude seems to invite sight in places we may be otherwise missing. American author and clergyman Henry van Dyke once wrote: "There are a hundred touches of kindness that come to us every day to tell us that we are not orphans or outcasts upon the earth. Every trace of order, every gleam of beauty, every provision of bounty in the natural world, is an evidence that it is God's house." There are times when we may notice beauty but do not see the splendor of all we are beholding. There are other days when we wholly overlook intricate masterpieces. We miss the glimpses of design around us; we fail to see the truth of his words at work, the touch of his hand through another, the reminder of his presence in the sun. We can so easily go through a day unaware of how near we were to God Himself.
A poem penned by Augustine utters the lament of a soul who has realized that God is there, but that it was he himself who was not. Writes Augustine, "Too late have I loved You, O Beauty so ancient, O Beauty so new, too late have I loved You! You were within me but I was outside myself, and I sought You there! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of things You have made. You were with me, and I was not with You." His words remind us of all that we miss when we fail to taste and see in thankful awareness.
Like the disciples on the mount who fell on their faces as Jesus became "like the sun" and "as white as light," it seems God brings us again to that place where we are awed by his glory, his provision or mercy—his fearful existence. And like the disciples, like Moses and Job and Isaiah, we are reminded that we are in the presence of God in all his glory, and that whether we are aware of it or not He is always near. His glory is declared day after day; the work of his hands is proclaimed night after night.
The great house of God is like "a treasure hidden in a field," taught Jesus. The kingdom of God is among us. Today, it is in the tradition of Thanksgiving that we notice again the treasures of his nearness. Tomorrow, may it be similar.