I absolutely love the story of the thankful leper, and can’t imagine a Thanksgiving Advent without it. Ten men with leprocy were standing waiting for Jesus to pass by on his way into their village. Exiles, untouchables, unclean – men of different races and backgrounds who normally would not be near each other – were banded together because of their desperate need and hope for a miracle. From a distance they called out – “Jesus, master, have mercy on us!” They hoped, they believed, and they ASKED. And Jesus answered. He did have mercy, not to a few chosen, but to all of them. So he told them to go and show themselves to the priests – the priests who could declare them clean so they could renter their lives, be with their family (and support their families), live in their community, work at their jobs, worship at their temple, and so on… But they were not yet healed. Jesus told them to go, to show themselves to the priest as they were… still lepers. What faith to believe and go even though they had not yet seen the healing! They stepped out in faith and as they were on the way, they were healed. Can you imagine the moment when they look down and realize what had happened! Isn’t that just like us sometimes, we have to step out in faith and believe his promises and through the process he heals us from the lies we believe… from the sins that bind us. Then one day we look at ourselves and we can see the change that happened over time as through discipline and obedience he healed us. That can be the hardest thing to be thankful for… because sometimes you don’t even see it, it happens subtly over time and you don’t realize you’ve been healed until you stop and look. Or it’s such a process and takes so long, it becomes tempting to give credit to time, maturity, to yourself for the discipline or obedience … or even just call it coincidence. What a tragedy that is, for we miss out on the miracle, the affirmation of faith, and the opportunity to declare his power. It’s easy to miss it – 9 out of the 10 did. But this one leper, saw what had happened, he stopped and turned around – he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet giving thanks. That image has me captivated. When everyone else didn’t, before he went to the priest, before he showed his family and friends what Jesus had done – he turned back in complete humility and gratitude to say thank you. What do I have that I have not been given? The only thing I have to boast in is Jesus Christ and him crucified, he is my creator, my sustainer, my redeemer and Lord. To him I owe my life, to take up my cross daily and follow him… to fall on my face at his feet daily with a heart overflowing with thankfulness.