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Thankfulness

October 31st, 2010 No comments

Thanksgiving’s coming!

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday, isn’t it? There’s the food: too much of it, usually, and things you don’t see the rest of the year, like cranberry relish and yams. There’s the spectacle on TV, starting with parades and ending with as many football games as you can fit into 24 hours and 30 channels. Then to bed early, so you can be up early for Black Friday and Phase II of the Christmas buying season.

Thanksgiving is weird because it’s a secular nod to religion, and it gets more weird as the secular culture becomes less willing to nod. Increasingly we see celebrities and politicians urging us to be thankful without saying whom we should thank. Each other, I guess, or no-one in particular.

As Christians, however, we know whom to thank. There is an object of our gratitude: our God, who is the source of all good things. The Psalmist put it this way:

The LORD is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 28:7 NLT

I’ve always found that thanksgiving is the easiest form of prayer. When I’m asking God for things, I often don’t know what I should ask. Even when I know what I ought to ask, what I want is sometimes another story. It leaves me wondering whether to sign off with “not my will but thine, Lord … except that you need to be aware that this is something I really, really want you to do for me. Amen.”

Thankfulness is easier, because the answer is usually staring me in the face. Like this: as I write this, I’m looking at a computer screen. I’m thankful it isn’t a typewriter, because it makes it so easy to fix my mistakes, and when I’m done, I can just email what I’ve written into the Panorama. It also reminds me of my career in the computer industry, and I’m thankful for that, because it’s where I met my wife. Among the countless reasons I’m thankful for her is that she invited me to her church, where I met Jesus. Thankfulness is a snap.

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

What has God done for you lately? Has God helped you, and how has it given you joy?

If you’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner with anyone this year, someone’s sure to ask you what you’re thankful for. Think what a great answer you could give — how you could practically burst out in a song of thanksgiving — if you started working on it now.

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