Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
LET US GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD
I give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. Psalm 9:1
And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
The next three reflections are going to focus on positive thinking. People are divided into two camps when it comes to looking at a glass of water that is not full. Some see that glass as half-empty, and others see it as half-filled. All who look at the glass see the same glass with the same amount of water, but some see the half-filled glass in a positive light and others in a negative one.
The same is true with many things in life that where many people see the same thing but react to it differently. The “glass half-filled” people tend to see things in a positive light, they tend to see the good in things and in people and they see the potential for at least some positive outcome even in a negative situation. The “glass half empty” people tend to see things in a negative light, they tend to see the bad in things and in people and they see the potential for at least some negative outcome even in a positive situation.
Someone said to me just this morning how disappointed they were with their Christmas presents. I guess in a material way, they didn’t get what they wanted. As I think back to Christmas, just a couple of days ago, if someone asked me what I got for Christmas, I wouldn’t even think of material things (and yes, I got some presents). I got to worship in church, I got to receive Holy Communion, I got to have some quality time with my family, went to the movies (yes, “Rogue One” tickets were a Christmas present), had some great food, and expressed great sentiments with friends on the occasion of the holiday. And I got to sleep, and I have decent health and great weather in Tampa where I live. All of these things take precedence over whatever material gifts I received or didn’t. I can’t think, in fact, about any gift that I would want if I had to give up any of the above gifts.
So, we need think in our lives in terms of what do I have, and not what do I not have. If you woke up today, you received a gift of life. Some people didn’t wake up today. If you are reading this message, it means that you can read. Many people cannot. If you are reading this message on a phone or a computer, it means that you own a phone or computer. Many people do not. If you are reading this message inside a home, that means you have a roof over your head to protect you from the elements, the cold and the heat. Many people do not have a home. If you can read this message, it means that you can see—some people cannot. And if you are reading this message, please know that I care enough about the people reading it to continue writing every day. There are people who have no one to care for them.
The point of today’s writing is to encourage us to be thankful for what we have, and not what we don’t have. I believe that God is a glass half-filled God. He sees the best in us. He wants us to see the best in each other. He hopes for the best for us. And He wants us to hope for the best in each other. He is easy to entreat and easy to forgive. And He wants us to be those things for one another. His mercy is without limit. And He wants us to follow His example. Whatever material gifts you received or didn’t receive this Christmas cannot compare to the spiritual gifts we receive from the Lord on a daily basis, not just for Christmas.
So be grateful today for what you have, and make the most of today and the opportunities it presents. Because for some people there are truly no opportunities today. However, if you are reading this message, you are not one of them.
Lord, thank You for the many gifts You give to me, not only at Christmas but throughout the year. Thank You that I am alive today. Thank You that I am reading this message through technology I am blessed to own. Thank You for the eyes I have to see and the brain I have to comprehend. Thank You for the roof over my head. Thank You for the ability to read. Thank You for a heart that beats. May it beat in a way that is thankful and positive. Help me to see the good in those around me. Help me glorify You in some way in the presence of others today. Amen.
Have a positive outlook today!
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Photo Credit: Positively Present
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