Among the many gifts for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving season is the simple, lifesaving, and life-changing truth that God really is love. I have known that glad affirmation from childhood on but integrating it into my heart and experiencing its power to heal is an ongoing process.

God knows everything about us: our limits and our possibilities, our weaknesses and our strengths, what hides in the shadows of our shame and what shines in the glory of our best selves. Because God is merciful and forgiving, our failures are neither final nor fatal. God knows it all, yet never rejects us. Like a strong mother or a tender father, God’s arms are always open wide to welcome us. As Jesus said and showed, God longs for us to experience abundant life.

The Creator calls us to join in the good work of healing shattered creation. The Liberator invites us to the adventure of laboring for freedom. The Generous One persuades us to experience and to share abundance.  In A Stone for a Pillow, Madeline L’Engle wrote: “We are not meant to cringe before God. We are to enjoy all the delights the Lord has given us, sunsets and sunrises, and a baby’s first laugh, and friendship and love, and the brilliance of the stars.” God’s generosity has filled the earth with astonishments, pleasures, and wonders to savor.   

I’m grateful that we live and move and have our being in the life of a God who is overflowing and joyful love. With a God like that, we are freer than we know—as free as we dare to be.