the rolling scroll of thankfulness
The rolling scroll of thankfulness is a time-honored tradition in our household. This family legacy started with my mother-in-law, and lives on today, every year at Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving morning my wife unrolls the kraft-paper scroll of thankfulness and pins it to the wall. To paint a picture for you – it stands about 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Battered and torn, covered in writing with the names of those who’ve gathered around the table with us over the last few years.
Each year – those who gather and gather around the table take a moment to reflect on the year. They remember all the provision they’ve had poured out on them in the last year, and what they have to be thankful for. They write it down on the kraft-paper scroll, along with the year and their name.
It’s hard to remember the years of God’s provision, but the rolling scroll provides a taste of God’s glory and work in our life. Some years, some of the toughest years of our life and marriage, we didn’t think we had much to be thankful for. Other years, we couldn’t think of a single reason not to be thankful!
Regardless of our circumstances, we write down our thankfulness. We remember that God is still good, and we are still thankful.
The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:15-17:
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanksthrough him to God the Father.
I notice in this passage how often Paul reminds the church to live in thankfulness (bolded above). And he says, teach and counsel one another. That phrase, “teach and counsel one another”, is translated in older versions of the Bible using the word admonish. It means advise each other.
The rolling scroll of thankfulness seems like an imperfect picture of Christian admonishment. In reading the thankfulness of those who’ve written on it, I marvel at God’s glory. I am thankful for them, thankful for their counsel, and thankful that their thankfulness spurs me on to be thankful as well.
Maybe this Thanksgiving you don’t feel like you have much to be thankful for. In the craziness of the year we’ve had, you’re struggling to feel thankfulness in your heart.
Today, draw close to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Admonish one another, and let the thankfulness and peace of God rule in your heart.
And remember that, your rolling scroll of thankfulness reveals the glory of God, who always has and will always be a comforter, provider and the central focus of your thankfulness.