Thursday, November 22, 2012

Do I Feel "Thankful," or just "Lucky"?

As another Thanksgiving rolls around, I've enjoyed seeing all of the November Facebook posts each day where people recount what they are thankful for.  I am reminded of the trend several years ago when Oprah advised viewers to start a "Gratitude Journal."  Each day they were encouraged to simply reflect upon their day and recognize and record what they were grateful for in that 24 hours.  Brilliant idea, and people reported their outlooks being changed.  When they realized how many good things occurred in the space of a day, good things many of us take for granted as we become consumed with life's struggles and disappointments, their outlook became much more "positive."  They discovered the psychological truth that "being happy with what we have" overcomes the frustration we feel over the things we do not.

The Facebook posts and Oprah's Gratitude Journal are wonderful starts, but today lets go that next step and realize that we human beings only experience "thankfulness," or "gratitude," toward a SOMEONE.  Otherwise what we're feeling is really just "lucky."  Without there being a God that we thank for the incredible gifts of taking our next breath, food to nourish ourselves with, family that we love; what we express when recounting our "blessings" isn't truly gratitude or thankfulness, but a laundry list of how chance has favored us.  If God is not there at the beginning of the "giving chain" that brings us existence, nourishment, and love then these things have not come to us by any great purpose; we simply lucked out! Instead of gathering around a Thanksgiving dinner table to recall what each of us is most "thankful" for, we should probably all meet up at the nearest riverboat casino and take turns rolling the dice.

But no, Thanksgiving is a tradition retained in our culture because whether or not His Name is spoken, in our heart of hearts each of us senses that there is something more at work in life than the roll of the die.  Each of us have been blessed, blessed by a God Who loves us.

So what am I thankful to Him for today?  I am thankful for my children, who are miracles.  I am thankful for this home I live in, that He brought to me through the friendship of Jim and Kathi Strunk.  I am thankful for the dishes given to me by my friend Amy.  I am thankful for the bed I sleep in, that came to me through my sister's generosity, and the pots and pans I cook with that were housewarming gifts from my brother.  (Get the sense somebody started over recently?)  I am thankful to my parents for a lifetime of support and for the incredible feast and night of fun that lies ahead of us.  I am thankful to God for the car that is continuing to run, a year past what I thought it would.  Most of all though, I am sincerely thankful to God that He loves a silly creature like me, that He calls me "son."  I am bewildered that given all the grandeur in this universe He made, He would want to dwell in my soul. I am blessed, more than I could or ever will deserve ... as are we all.  Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

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