“Gifted by thee, turn we to thee, offering up our lives in praise”


Words teach us. Words inform, they instruct. Words inspire us. Words change us.

This week we have observed the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. At a ceremony at Gettysburg on Wednesday my friend, and the President of Gettysburg Seminary, Michael Cooper-White, gave the invocation at the official formal ceremony rededicating the battlefield and the speech to posterity. His words were stirring and simple. They moved people. I don’t think his prayer was as long as the speech itself. Mike is not like that.
We use words. Words have power. Lincoln’s words were humble and clear. They have endured over time because they were true, deep and true.

Jesus came to bring us words of wisdom. But more important, Jesus was the word. The wisdom of God made flesh among us. The presence of God, one of us. It’s been a long time since I studied and did a study of the Greek word logos, word. But it conveys a power beyond these simple marks on a page. It is a reality, a power, it enacts, makes happen what it wills. Jesus was the Word made flesh among us.

So many words around us these days. I love them. I use way more than my fair share. I am grateful for the ways others use words. They bring something to life. They communicate vital stories and information that we rely upon.

But at this season, I am grateful for the Word. I am grateful for the Word whose actions give us life!
My favorite Thanksgiving hymn uses wonderful words to sum up my philosophy of life,
            “Gifted by thee, turn we to thee, offering up our lives in praise. Thankful songs shall rise forever,        Gracious donor of our days.”

Jesus’ words guide our days. We are lucky for the eloquence of those like Lincoln whose words helped to heal a nation and still inspire us today. We rely on good words from family and friends to encourage and support us. We enjoy the words of those who write truth cleverly disguised as fiction. We have much to be grateful for, in the word department.

But as the days draw us toward December and the celebration of Christmas, I am most grateful this day for the One who is Word, who is God with us, enacting in and among us that loving intention that the Creator has for each one of God’s people. And we offer up our lives, not just our words, in praise!

Jan Erickson-Pearson

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