Saturday, November 28, 2015


by Andrew Cromwell

Just three days ago we celebrated a holiday which, for many, involved gathering with friends and family, eating oneself into a stupor and then crashing in front of the television. For some, the additional caloric intake was designed to prepare them for the exertion of racing down the aisles in search of the “best deals of the year” during the Black Friday frenzy. For others, the food was a drug designed to lessen the impact of being face to face with the family members seen once a year.

But of course, Thanksgiving is not about the food, although in my house it is an incredible excuse of it! And, it is most definitely not about the shopping, as much as our retailers try to convince us it is so. It is not even about family, although being with family, is most certainly a highlight of the holiday.

We all know this—Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. Many of us usually remember to take at least a moment and say thanks to God, and if not that, at least thanks to friends and family for being there. And if the holiday is only that, then it is certainly not wasted, but I would argue that it misses something of what it could be.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to highlight an attitude that we should seek to carry continually in our lives, not just once a year. We should seek to carry this “attitude of gratitude” wherever we go.

The Jewish sages of old taught that it was impossible for an individual to be truly thankful to God without first being thankful for one’s immediate family. I believe that part of the reason they said this is because when it comes to God, He’s the one who is in the position of power and authority. We must be grateful to Him, anyone who is not, doesn’t understand that He could squash us all like ants!

Being thankful to someone who is powerful, is very easily lip service. We say thank you because we must. Like children who are taught to say “please” and “thank you” but say it because if they don’t they will get smacked, we often say thanks to God because He is the powerful One who is out there and we feel we must.

But to be thankful to those who are around you who are not powerful, those who rub you the wrong way and who you see at their worst, that is required for true thankfulness.  For then you are being grateful to people who you know are imperfect. And to be thankful to them, requires more than lip service. It requires an acknowledgement that you need the people around you for you cannot do it on your own. To say that to God is relatively pretty easy, to say that to your spouse sometimes is not.

But this is the way we are all supposed to live always, not just one day a year. Living in an attitude of continual thanksgiving, remembering that everything we have and everything we are is possible because of other people and because of God the Father.

But how quickly we forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment