Many of us are familiar with the story about Jesus feeding the five thousand. After a long day, the thousands gathered around him were hungry, and they didn’t have enough to feed the crowd. His apostles panicked and focused on what they lacked – the food to feed everyone, and the money to buy what they would need. Jesus directs them to sit down, and he does something unexpected.
41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. (Mark 41-44, NIV)
Often the focus of this story is on provision, generosity, or hospitality. It is a story of those things, but it is also a story about the power of thanksgiving – specifically the very countercultural practice of giving thanks for the small and ordinary things around us.
The miracle – the incredible feat of multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish into a feast for five thousand – is often thought of as the highlight, but consider what Jesus does immediately before performing this miracle. He gives thanks for what they have, and then it is multiplied.
As we prepare for a long-anticipated Thanksgiving Break next week, I want to challenge our community to practice thanking God for the ordinary blessings around us, the things that pre-pandemic we may have taken for granted. We know that each day is a gift so I pray that all your days next week will involve moments of gratitude.
It is no small thing to be through our first trimester. It isn’t small at all, but the successful completion of this marking period is made up of a million small and extraordinary-but-ordinary things, for which we can give thanks. The early mornings, the connections on the athletic fields, the incremental results of hard work and homework, the pop-up concerts and performances, and every time a student holds the door open for the person behind them or carries their backpack when they see someone on crutches (as witnessed just this morning at drop off!)
This Thanksgiving, please join me in giving thanks to God for the little things that led to the big things – the ordinary moments that have brought us to this milestone in the year and the people in our community that have walked alongside us.
LCA, I am thankful for you and the ways you have taken part in encouraging and supporting our community over these last three months. I thank God for you, and look forward to the upcoming trimester in partnership with you.
To God be the glory (and the gratitude),
Head of School