Sometimes I think we have to fool ourselves in order to keep going in life. And the verses in the scriptures that require a great deal of deception are the ones that tell us we should give thanks in all things. Ephesians 5:20 instructs us to “give thanks to God the Father for everything.” I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
The cynic asks: What if I don’t have ‘everything’ I need? And What if my circumstances are filled with pain?
My “Thanksgiving” is comprised of a day with more food than we could ever consume. It is a day in which I am literally surrounded by people I love. I am intensely aware of the chasm that exists between the likes of me and the homeless folk, the victims of war, the chronically ill. My gratitude must not be a means of thinking I can protect myself against other realities. I am intensely aware that much of the world’s peoples have so much less than I do in terms of material things. Many move with far less freedom than I do.
I was thinking earlier today as I anticipated the feasting with the people I know and love – Jesus once told a “prominent Pharisee” who was hosting a feast that he should invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. (Luke 14:12-14.) Those folk were not in evidence at our family gatherings today.
I enjoyed every minute of today’s festivities. I don’t feel guilty for any of it. Blessings abound. And I am also aware of Jesus’ perspective. Blessings aren’t meant to be a shield against the realities of the world. Blessings are meant to be a catalyst that incites us to generosity. For all we gave thanks for today, we are well equipped to love others. Today is a new beginning, inspiring those of us who have been given much to embrace those who have not. It’s not about being superficially charitable. It’s about gaining a deeper understanding of the true purpose of what being ‘blessed’ means.
A blessed Thursday to you …