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Posted November 23, 2006

My Thanksgiving Wish for You

Gene Hemrick

What might we be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Usually when this question is posed, people think back to what made them happy in the past, for example, getting married, the birth of a child, the graduation of children, a new home or car, good neighbors, starting a better job, etc.

All of these have something beautiful about them, but what about beauty itself? Often "beauty" is defined in terms of the qualities in a person or object that give pleasure to the senses or spirit. What have we seen, heard, smelled or tasted that filled us with pure pleasure?

Allow me to recall some of the extraordinary beauty I experienced this year that may help you recall your most beautiful moments in 2006.

During the Cherry Blossom festival in Washington, there is a 10-mile run that I participate in every year. I remember awaking early in the morning to a crystal blue sky and an intoxicating freshness in the spring air. The air was so fresh that it made you simply want to fly.

At the starting line of the race, the vitality of physically fit people consumed with enthusiasm electrified the air.

Then, as we cruised through the Washington national monuments area, the sight of picture-perfect white cherry blossoms tinted with red was absolutely heavenly. When you bathe in beauty like that, the world looks wonderful.

In August I gave a retreat at the New Jersey shore that showed me another of beauty's exquisite faces. Each morning I awoke to the rising sun casting a fiery red brightness over the calm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. When you awake to such magnificent beauty, God's magnificence itself fills you with awe.

In Capitol Hill neighborhoods, every front yard is a garden of paradise. I remember walking there one morning and feeling a surge of gratefulness course through me. It is truly a blessing to be able to drink in the many ways beauty expresses herself in our surroundings.

I listen to classical music frequently. Every so often I hear something entirely new that lifts my spirits to new heights. In moments like these, I thank God for the faculty of hearing and for the thrilling, heavenly sounds themselves.

I love to cook! To successfully combine spices, herbs and other ingredients to produce a genuinely enjoyable dish is not only an art, but often it's pure luck. And when things turn out as you hoped, you realize why the Bible uses a good meal to describe a celestial banquet.

The mention of delectable food, dazzling colors, intoxicating breezes and heavenly music is frequent in the Bible. They are some of the most powerful examples we possess for expressing the beauty of God.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My Thanksgiving wish is that the beauty you experienced this year will be reawakened, causing you to feel joyfully beholden to God for all the beauty with which he surrounds us.