As I began this new year. A new decade. I reminisced to about two years ago – January 14, 2008 – and the news that we were expecting a baby – a son – and expecting him very – very unexpectedly! I remember clearly that snow- filled wintry day. Dark, cold, winter white, wonderful, and fretful – a car ride home – a phone call – a voice telling us that the medical lab reports confirmed that, two forty-four year old parents, were indeed going to learn how to change diapers once again. It was scary, and I remember thinking: How? When? Why?… Lord have mercy! And help us! This was unexpected, and not supposed to happen as we thought having four others aged 13 to 8 years was the end of our family. I didn’t know what to do, but I inwardly thought, “I need to call our Priest, Father Gregory, and ask him for a “meeting”, I needed someone to help me process this whole revelation of life change – even though we were not yet Orthodox…I knew that he would be a friend and a source of help. In short, he was a true priest. He was great. He smiled. A look of concern came over his countenance as I stumbled and stammered to get out the news… “…we’re gonna have a …. bbb-baby…” I said and I will never forget that moment. His eyes light up with joy; and as I saw that huge smile break upon his kind white bearded face… and at that moment I knew everything would be alright: He said: “A baby! That is wonderful… just wonderful!” “God has blest you!” It was his joy, his smile… it certainly made everything ‘alright’. He also gave me something else. He gave me an Akathist… kind of an Orthodox “long-song”… a prayer song that one sings/prays while standing – and this one was called an Akathist of Thanksgiving. He said, “Take this home. Pray with it everyday…let it speak to you… let it bless you…”
Take a look again at the pic above. These words from the akathist truly have meaning when we consider the blessing and unexpected joy that our son has brought us – the world, and everyone he meets:
We thank You for all the good things You do, those we know, and those we don’t know…
I have been re-praying this wonderful prayer-song lately, in fact, I prayed it on New Year’s Day, and have committed to praying it every Sunday. I want to share it with you. I will post on it and offer some of my insights and comments… May it bless your new year, and all through the year.
It is a wonderful gift.
The Akathist of Thanksgiving – Glory to God for all Things!
By The Very Rev. Father Gregory Petroff (+1942)
Incorruptible King of all ages, holding in Your hand every path of human life through the power of Your saving Providence. We thank You for all the good things You do, those we know, and those we don’t know, for earthly life and for the heavenly joy of Your Kingdom to come. Hold us in Your mercy now and ever we who sing: Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.
Into the world I was born as a weak, helpless child, but Your Angel spread wings of light over me, guarding my crib. Ever since then Your love lights all my paths, wonderfully guiding me towards the light of eternity. Gloriously, the generous gifts of Your Providence have been manifest from the very first day. I am thankful to You and with all who have come to know You call out:
Glory to You, who called me to life.
Glory to You, who have shown me the beauty of the universe.
Glory to You, who have opened before me the sky and the earth as an eternal book of wisdom.
Glory to the eternity of You, in the midst of the world of time.
Glory to You, for your hidden and evident goodness.
Glory to You, for every sigh of my sadness.
Glory to You, for every step of my life, for every moment of joy.
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.