As this week is Thanksgiving I have prepared a message, to be delivered on Sunday, about being thankful. As an aside, and a beginning point, I must say that being thankful is a challenge. It seems I want and occasionally expect for of life (as the advertizement challenges me to do).
On this uniquely American holiday (though others may have borrowed its idea), the nation pauses to give thanks. The question becomes to whom is that thanks offered. For some it is to the Christian God. Others offer thanks to some other diety or nature. Still others offer thanks with no particular entity in mind, just thanks.
It is interesting to me the means by which this celebration of appreciation finds its expression. That for which we are thankful is also intriguing. Some are thankful for the basics, home, family, and health. Others add to (or if they are missing one of these) the list country, neighbor, transportation, etc. Gratefulness for salvation, faith, provision, and the like often find expression as well.
Yet it nevers ceases to amaze me of the ways we find. Again the ways varies. Shopping is on the top of many people's list. Black Friday is becoming Black Thursday (or Black November). "I am thankful I have money (or a credit card) so let's find a sale!" is the marching orders for the day. My favorite is the annual watching of Lions and Cowboys play football. I am most thankful when the Cowboys lose. Usually the day involves too much food, too many dishes, and a little too much family closeness for many.. Some, of course will have to work and delay their thankfulness. I was in Walmart the other day listening to an employee complain that she had to work and since she couldn't cook for her family they were not going to have Thanksgiving. I felt sorry for her on several levels. She had to work, no one in her family could cook, or that no dinner meant not thanks. As I was getting turkeys for the church dinner I invited her to come. She didn't show.
One of the things I noticed on my journey through the Bible this week was the place thanks plays in God's word. I will chronicle some of those things on Sunday. For my purposes here, I want to highlight an ongoing attitude. In God's word it is not a day, or possessions, or family, or circumstance. It is about our relationship with and to God. As we travel down our spiritual road, as we face the good days, and the hard days, as trials, and gifts come our way, may thanks and appreciation be found in our hearts and minds and on our lips.