GIVING THANKS TO GOD
FOR HIS LIGHT
God created the universe and everything that exists in it and those who understand this know somewhat of His plentiful bounty. Most Orthodox Christians have a special and keen awareness, for Christ through the Gospel teaches everything that contributes to our progress and edification. Man and woman are the most noble of all creatures being the crowning glory of God’s creation. God grants all benefactions to man that he might gratefully praise God and show his love for Him as he struggles to keep His commandments, for the commandments of Christ are a brilliant light in human souls, and keeping them demonstrates our sincere love for God, as Christ says: “If you love me keep my commandments.”
But we are often negligent in offering gratitude to God, first for our existence and life, but also for the countless bounties which has been bestowed upon us by the Lord. Behold, the sun rises daily shining brightly giving man heat and light during the day. But do we cry out: “Glory to you who have shown us the light?” Much needed rain comes systematically giving gardens much needed watering for plant health and life. Do we give thanks for the rain? The day ends and the twilight arrives heralding the night with the moon and stars for a lesser light. Do we bless the Lord for the moon and the stars and the darkness for sleep and rest? All weather is a blessing from God to who is due our earnest thanksgiving. We should not complain of bad or wet weather, which may be too hot, too cold or too dry. But we should give thanks for this as well. We need to thank him for each of these blessings which maintain our existence and provide for our daily lives.
We expect daylight to continue to dawn every day without thinking that this could change as God may so decide. Scripture says: “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun; But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity”
Seeing the light of each day should always remind us of Christ the Light of the world. We should remember that before Christ mankind lived in darkness and had no idea of why he existed and what was his destination before death. Truly without Christ everything is darkness, vanity and meaningless, but Christ being brighter than the sun shines His light upon the souls of the human race filling them with wisdom and knowledge of the true meaning of life. He appeared to us as the perfect Godman, as the man whose perfect human nature we all need to acquire for God said: “Let us create man in our own image and likeness.”
Our giving thanks should be continual and our remembrance frequently expressed if we consider all that Christ continues to give to us. We must turn away from egoistic self-centeredness and the vain material things of this world, and be aware of the beautiful things which our Creator personally bestows upon us. Through His perfect wisdom and knowledge he shows us how to live happily and in peace with one another, and how to achieve our destination as He desires/ Here, in a parable is an example of what Christ teaches us to enlighten our souls filling them with wisdom.
“Behold, a sower went forth to sow, and it happened as he sowed, that some fell by the wayside, and the fowl of the air devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth, and immediately it sprang up because it had no depths of earth; but when the sun was up it was scorched; and because it had no root it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred. And He said unto them, he that has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:3-9).
Christ often taught with parables which used subjects which we applied things which we knew about, to teach. The light shining from this parable is the sown seed which represents the word of God, the unreceptive ground typifies the souls of unreceptive men. The good ground are the many souls of receptive men. The Godman Jesus Christ,our Lord and Creator, teaches us everything that our soul needs in order to be sanctified by acquiring perfection and holiness. When we plant seed in the earth we expect it to grow into a desirable or useful plants. Thus, divine seeds that are planted in the human soul grow in man and change him gradually to divine holiness and sanctification.
Every word of the Bible is filled with the light of God’s truth and wisdom being the best possible food for our souls. Here is an example found in the fifth chapter of Matthew: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness is a virtue that opposes anger which is a vice that is one of the vices plaguing many families, and which often goes out of control, able of causing much misery. It can be in the form of loud talk or yelling, and can get physical, so it needs to be remedied, especially for those who desire to live a peaceful Christian life.
Christ teaches and blesses the meek which arepo those having the virtue opposed to the vice of anger. The virtue of meekness, which is more peaceful and natural for people, enables them to overcome anger and remain calm at all times. As this virtue increases within the soul, the vice of anger quickly diminishes and eventually will disappear. For this one thing we give heartfelt thanks to the Lord for His benefactions. Acquiring this single virtue eliminates the vice of anger, and demonstrates the important benefit of Christ’s teaching. The same principles apply to the vice of pride and arrogance which stand opposed to the virtue of humility. Christ showed the virtue of humility which in Him was perfect, to everyone, especially when He suffered His holy Passion, and His great humility while hanging on the Cross. As an example and with these instructive words He teaches us blessed humility, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”