Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The evening is a time for resting and presence. In the evening, we are tired from the events of the day, and the greatest gift we can give one another is undivided presence with other tired people in need of rest in each other’s company. However, we often litter our homes, dinner tables, and relationships with the clutter we carry home from the day. In order to be present to one another at the close of the day, we must first become present to God at the close of the day.
During the Jewish Passover, Israel sings a song of gratitude for God’s deliverance in the Exodus called Dayenu. Traditionally, Dayenu means, “it would have been enough.” A more modern translation might sound like, “Thank you God for overdoing it.” Dayenu serves as a historic prompt for giving thanks to God at the close of the day.
Review the events of the day: the people, tasks, messages, meals, demands, and surprises. Remember all of it. As you make your way back through the day from morning to evening, give thanks to God for anything and everything you have to be grateful for.
“God, lunch today would’ve been enough, but you provided me with the resources to choose the type of food I wanted to eat.”
“God, lunch of my choice would’ve been enough, but you created a world of flavor and spice and culture to make food more than fuel, but delicious.”
“God, a delicious lunch of my choice would’ve been enough, but you gave me a co-worker to share a conversation with over food.”
It keeps going like that, but you get the point. “Thank you God for overdoing it.” That’s Dayenu, and that’s how we pray gratitude.
Ronald Rolheiser writes, “Proper gratitude is the ultimate virtue. It defines sanctity. Saints, holy persons, are people who are grateful, people who see and receive everything as a gift. The converse is also true. Anyone who takes life and love for granted should not ever be confused with a saint.”
When we end the day in gratitude, we remember the fingerprints of God all across the hours of the day. We enter into the evening present and restful int he company of others in need of restful presence.