All is Gift

Everything is gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is the measure of our gratefulness. And gratefulness is the measure of our aliveness. Are we not dead to whatever we take for granted? Surely to be numb is to be dead.”

David Steindl-Rast (Gratefulness the Heart of Prayer).

What does it mean to say that “all is Gift?”

Does it mean I deny or ignore the existence of dissatisfaction, drudgery, pain and emptiness? Does my cloaking those realities behind the veil of ‘Thanks be to God’ while not really meaning it – ‘acting as if’ – hold any integrity?

Does saying “all is Gift” mean a mere change in perspective, refusing to let the darker, wounded natures of life rule the day, neither ignoring nor empowering them?

I am not sure I have the answer to that.  Hindsight is always 20/20 anyway; with a little time and distance, indeed all things can be seen as gifts from a generous God.  But what about seeing and saying that all things that are happening now are gifts from God and meaning it?  I have a harder time with that.  Being grateful for all things does not excuse or wash away the pain or the distress of certain circumstances, it merely affords me the opportunity to invite God deeper into the moment.  God is always present in all things, in all ways, in all circumstances whether we see, hear, feel or even acknowledge that Reality.

When I say “thank You” for what is right now, I am showing gratitude and humility for God being present.  I am saying “thank You Lord for bringing all that is Divine – love, grace, mercy, Presence and Absence –into this particular space and moment.”  In saying ‘thank You’ for all that is, all is made Gift by that very act.  As I do this, I begin to understand that wherever God is, God is creating and loving and working.  And wherever God is working becomes a holy and sacred space.  In truth, my very being becomes holy and sacred because God is present in the moment and when I get that truth, I am dwelling with God in the moment.  Then, indeed all is a Gift for God is all I need in the end.

Seeing all as gift, and God in the moment, is apropos for this time of year for we have just entered Advent.  Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming.”  Advent is the time when we wait, and hope expectantly, for the coming of our God.  We await the divine arrival in symbolic gestures and in reality, being born anew in the daily experience of the gift of God’s grace.

The truth is we are not waiting for God, for he is here, always.  We are really waiting for our perspective to change, to understand that faith is not an emotion, but an act of the will.  For in these pregnant days, all truly is a gift when glimpsed through the eyes of the God Who is an ever Present Reality.

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