- Thank you for food.
- Thank you for clothes to wear.
- Thank you for a place to live.
- Thank you for my family.
- Thank you for my friends.
- Thank you for making me happy.
- Thank you for keeping me relatively comfortable.
- Thank you for big things and thank you for little things.
- Thank you for letting me live in the great country of America and for blessing us so much, even though we haven't held fast to a lot of your rules.
- Thank you for this American holiday to remind us to be thankful because we might not remember otherwise.
We are all intimately familiar with this list, particularly this time of year. And I am certainly not disparaging the account, with a couple obvious exceptions (come on, did Radical by David Platt teach us nothing about number 7?). I am genuinely grateful for these things, so please do not misunderstand. Indeed, God has abundantly blessed us in so very MANY ways. Hallelujah! I just find myself wanting a better, more accurate list. And while I could count one thousand gifts from bubbles in the sink to icicles that look like daggers, I reckon thanksgiving is not about quantity. We've fallen into the trap of making it all about numbers because our old nature sure loves formulas! Is it possible that we even are greedy in having the longest list of things to be thankful about?
Sadly, that's not all. We also tend to make thanksgiving rather selfish. Aren't we first and foremost most thankful for our GIVER, not "merely" the tangible things He brings into our lives. Why do I feel like this time of year I hear less than any other time: "Thank you for YOUR HOLINESS because it means there is no one else like YOU. Thank you for YOUR SOVEREIGNTY because it means Someone is in control, someone who chose to love unconditionally, dying for me even though You didn't ever NEED me. Thank you for YOUR JUSTICE because it means you will literally TAKE OUT our enemies for Your Name's sake. Thank you for YOUR LOVINGKINDNESS and MERCY and GRACE in making a way for us to spend eternity together and not separated from each other. And Lord, thank you for YOUR GENEROSITY in sharing the Holy Spirit, YOUR CONSTANCY and STEADFAST RELIABILITY, and YOUR INFINITUDE for there is no end to what can be learned about you by finite minds. Thank you, O God, for being absolutely AWESOME and WORTHY of all my THANKSGIVING."
Can I hear that around the dinner table? Please?
So, my challenge is two-sided: Find ONE attribute of God and DIG as much to the bottom of it until the American holiday (I officially think this is what I will now call the fourth Thursday of November) arrives, and share THAT at the table. Come back and let me know how it goes. Secondly, like Anna the prophetess who instantly gave thanks to the LORD (the word is anthomologeomai, meaning acknowledging and professing IN THE PRESENCE OF) find quiet time to offer up to the God of heaven and earth, the OMNIPRESENT one, a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that praise His name!
Have a QUALITY Thanksgiving, friends.