You know those moments.
When someone does something to you that you don’t appreciate.
After a sneer, a smirk, or an inappropriate verbal explosion, you turn to the offender and sarcastically say, “Thanks a lot!”
As we approach our traditional American Thanksgiving holiday, our thanks may not be sarcastic. Our thanks may be muted, or hidden, or non-existent—if we’re being honest.
Maybe this is the first Thanksgiving without Mom or Dad. Maybe a spouse or a child has died since last Thanksgiving. Maybe the last year has been very difficult—with COVID, the job, the family member with addiction, the unexpected new baby, the unwanted diagnosis. It could be that the job disappeared, or income was dramatically reduced, or an accident turned everything upside down. Whatever the reason, trying to give thanks this Thanksgiving may be a little more difficult for some of us.
On the other hand, maybe the rising stock market has been very good to you. Business has been great. The year-end bonus looks to be pretty healthy and the promotion possibility on the horizon is looking like it will become a reality. That new car in the driveway is gleaming and the retirement account is bulging. Giving thanks, as family is gathered around a dining room table filled with everyone’s favorite food, may take little effort.
Or, maybe you’re somewhere in between these two extremes.
Wherever you are in this life’s journey, as you sit at the Thanksgiving table, before you slice that first piece of turkey, before you take that first spoonful of mashed potatoes, before you pour on the gravy, I would encourage you to pause to remember WHO and WHOSE you are, and what it is for which you are giving thanks.
Let me go all “theological” for a moment, would you? Remember, that through baptism you have been claimed as a child of God, a member of the priesthood of all believers. The Holy Spirit has sealed you. Being marked with the cross of Christ, you have been united with Him—not just in His death, but also in His resurrection. Regardless of where you are in the journey of life on this earth, I would encourage you to pause, before the serving spoon reaches the bowl of whatever is on your table, to give thanks for God’s work in your life.
This Thanksgiving, may our “Thanks a lot” not be a sarcastic utterance. May our thanks not be simply for all the stuff that we’ve been able to amass, or for a table full of food. Rather, may it be “Thanks A LOT”, an appreciation, for all God has done for us, for all God is doing right now in our lives, and for all that God will always do, to bring restoration and unity to all His creation.
Giving thanks, in the struggles and in the joys,
(P.S. And thanks a lot, especially for the mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Not so much for the cranberry sauce…)