Well, here we go again, its holiday time! In North America, we start with Thanksgiving, then comes Christmas, and finishing with New Year’s events.
Notice the order of the holidays; it’s thanks first and giving second. Thanksgiving, to be truly Thanksgiving, is first thanks, then comes the giving of Christmas. However, Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.
There are many things we could note about thanksgiving. For example, Thanksgiving is when one species ceases to ‘gobble’ and another begins. Here’s something one for which you should be abundantly thankful – only you and God have all the facts about yourself. If you can’t pay your bills, you can be thankful you’re not one of your creditors.
We ought to be thankful we are living in a country where folks can say what they think without thinking. A person doesn’t realize how much he has to be thankful for until he has to pay taxes on it. Finally, here’s another Thanksgiving tip, why not be thankful for some of the things you don’t have?
Matthew Henry, the famous scholar, was once accosted by thieves and robbed. He wrote about the incident. “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not too much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” Great thoughts there and a great perspective. When you think that like, you don’t spend a bunch of emotional energy on bitterness and revenge.
Fulton Sheen wrote something concerning the consequences of ingratitude in children. “A very interesting phenomenon in children is that gratitude or thankfulness comes relatively late in their young lives. They almost have to be taught thankfulness; if not, they are apt to grow up thinking the world owes them a living.” In other words, if we aren’t thankful for what we have, we aren’t very likely to be thankful for what we are going to get.
Someone once said, “The truth is attitudes sour in the life that is closed to thankfulness. Soon selfish attitudes take over, closing life to better things.”
So, what is Thanksgiving? Neil Strait says; “Thanksgiving is the attitude of the life that acknowledges the contribution from God, from others, and from life. Thanksgiving puts power into living, because it opens up the generators of the heart to respond gratefully, to receive joyfully, and to react creatively.”
Let me conclude with what Richard Douglas says. “The modern person seldom pauses to give thanks for the simple blessings of life. One reason is because we are used to having so much. We simply assume that we will have all the good things of life. Another reason is that it hurts our pride to be grateful. We do not want to admit that God is the Provider of all good things. We are simply His stewards. Being thankful requires humility and faith in God. When we have these, we can be grateful.”
In other words, when you drink from the stream, remember the spring. Remember, first thanks then giving. Great thankfulness leads to great giving. Great ‘Thanksgivings’ lead to ‘Great Christmases.’
Ed Delph CCC November 19, 2018