here we are. the day after Thanksgiving. the day when people madly trample over others in a greedy dash to find the ultimate gift. is it not ironic that the day after Thanksgiving, people are often so heartless? we just finished giving thanks for the things that we have and immediately turn around and go wildly crazy for the things that we do not have.
that was just a random observation.
what i was really wanting to say, or rather, to ask, is for you to tell me what you are thankful for today. or if not me, tell someone. what have you seen, or felt, or experienced that has made you thankful?
Thanksgiving comes. Thanksgiving goes. we spend hours preparing food, drinks, and table decorations. perhaps, for a few brief moments we reflect on those things for which we are thankful. maybe you have a tradition of going around the table and telling everyone something that fills you with gratitude. or perhaps you write out a list. everyone has warm fuzzy feelings. you pray and thank God for His many blessings. and then you eat. and eat. and eat. a food coma overtakes you and somehow seems to insidiously drag your body to the nearest soft surface. you nap. you watch television. and perhaps, if you get your second wind, you head for another round of delectable treats. Thanksgiving comes. Thanksgiving goes.
Thanksgiving is replete with tradition. unfortunately, to me, it seems that thankfulness itself has become a tradition as well. it is something that we so often tend to shove away into the farthest reaches of our hearts. like the silver turkey platter that you take out once a year. and like the gravy boat that sits unused in the china cabinet, gratitude is something that we also dust off and display when necessary.
dare i say that there is a grave lack of genuine gratefulness on our parts? i do not mean that we are not truly thankful for the things that we select to share with others around a Thanksgiving feast. i simply mean that being thankful is something that should captivate us on a daily basis. we should be enslaved to the art of giving thanks to the One who gives us every “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).
how often do we sit and think about the uncontrollable mystery of the love of God? the severe mercy that was and is shown to us in our redemption and sanctification? the truth that we are clothed in Christ and hidden in Him? that eternal life is not something that we will one day have, but is something that is ours right now? the most profound words in the world would be insufficient to describe the fact that I am His, and He is mine. but do we embrace those truths everyday? do we fall on our knees in thankfulness for both the grand and glorious, as well as for the most simple and infinitesimal things?
In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge says of Christmas, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” i know that i have not been talking about Christmas. i know that i am talking about Thanksgiving. but let us modify this to say that we will “honor Thanksgiving in our hearts, and will keep it all the year.”
may we stoke the fire of gratitude in our hearts on a daily basis. may we seek to have eyes that are open to notice both the most profound and the most miniscule things – they both merit the utmost gratitude to the One who “loved us and gave Himself for us” (Galatians 2:20). let us marvel in God’s grace. let us take delight in the tiny flower that has managed to grow through the crack in the concrete. let our redemption bring us to our knees in love and thanks. let us smile when we ponder why some birds hop and some walk. from the eternal to the temporal. the significant to the random, may we rejoice in all things. and everyday, whether we are in the darkest valley or on the highest mountain, let us cling to the cross and be thankful.
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all you lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.”