I grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, where there is really only one season. But I was brought up to believe that you should dress as if there are four, and I have carried that mentality with me into adulthood. Now that I live where the temperatures do change from one season to the next, I enjoy choosing whatever clothes reflect the month each morning and wearing them through the day. I love the thrill of that ultimate shopping trifecta: finding a garment I love, in my size, at a thrift shop. If my clothing feels good against my skin—flannel shirts are a special favorite—then I feel good.
True confession: I have more clothes than I actually need, and I wrestle with that. I try to assuage my guilt by shopping locally and passing on garments that I no longer wear. Bonus points on my conscience scale if I buy clothes from not-for-profit gift shops.
Apparently, the earth does not share my scruples. The psalmist envisions the earth enthusiastically clothing itself in God’s bounty. The image is extravagant: the meadows are dressed in sheep by the hundreds, and the valleys are enrobed with abundant grain. The hills, reaching to the heavens, are happy simply to be clad (or not) in joy. In the psalmist’s eyes, the earth gratefully rejoices when dressed in the lavishness of God. It revels in God’s excesses and is happy to be gloriously crowned by creation’s gifts. Gratitude and praise fills this psalm: the earth’s grateful song fills the air and the psalmist offers praise for God’s outrageous abundance. Clearly the exuberant earth enjoys its God-given clothing even more than I enjoy my flannel shirts—and is much less subdued about expressing it.
On this Thanksgiving Day, how will you appreciate God’s beautiful abundance and give thanks for it?
Generous God, teach us how to graciously receive your gifts and appreciate them fully and unabashedly. Amen.