Thankful For Positive Negativity


Thanksgiving provides an occasion where we can stop to consider our circumstances and to give thanks for them.  Unfortunately, in our materialistic society, our thankfulness is usually directed to things we have and not to things we don’t.  If we follow Paul’s directive in Ephesians 5:20, we should give thanks for everything; sometimes the things we should be the most thankful for are the things we are lacking, i.e., the positive negatives in our lives.

While superficially this statement may seem confusing, stop and think about it.  What are you glad that you don’t have?  Here’s an easy one.  I am glad that I DON’T have any physical disabilities.  I will be able to hear my four year old grandson sing a Thanksgiving blessing.  I will be able to see the table full of food that my daughter and I will prepare together for our holiday meal.

Admit it.  You have stood in front of your refrigerator and made the bold statement, “There’s nothing to eat.”  What you really mean is that there is nothing that you want to eat.  Food is in your refrigerator; what’s available just doesn’t strike your fancy.  Why not be thankful that you DON’T have bare cupboards like Old Mother Hubbard?

And those cupboards have to be located somewhere.  You can give thanks that you DON’T have to be labeled homeless.  My humble abode is just that.  It is humble and is not fit for consideration for a photo spread in Better Homes and Gardens.  But this humble abode does provide a roof over my head and prevents my exposure to the elements.

The elements can be devastating.  I DON’T have to worry about hurricane destruction to my house this hurricane season.  My residence is in Florida, so it is in a prime location for a visit from Jim Cantore and a storm for some reason innocently named after a human.  Who knew Marie was such a menace?  My humble abode has been spared the wrath from any sinister storm this year.

How am I warned about severe weather?  Why I can read about it on the Internet and in the newspaper.  I am not out of the loop because I DON’T suffer from illiteracy.  If I choose, I can read about who accused whom of what in the news.  I can read all about it–or not.  I can read something mindless, like the National Enquirer, or I can read a textbook to plan a lesson for the ESL class I volunteer teach to help others.

Speaking of books, I can freely purchase, carry and read a Bible in the country where I live.  I DON’T fear persecution here for my religious beliefs.  It is not a question of whether I can read a Bible; instead I have to determine which of numerous versions I desire to peruse and study.  I can bow my head and pray over my meal in a restaurant without worrying that the authorities will have my head for this behavior.  I can openly gather together with others of like faith to ask the Lord’s blessing.

While Thanksgiving is simply one day on a calendar containing 365 days in a year, I DON’T have to limit my thankfulness to that holiday.  I can and should be thankful on a daily basis for what I have and for what I DON’T.  If I DON’T limit my thankfulness to things I have, I will realize that I have more to be thankful for than I ever realized.  Yes, I appreciate those negatives in my life which are positive for me.

JUST WONDERING:  What negative thing can you give thanks for today that is a positive for you?










Let’s Talk Turkey


This week Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday in the United States since 1863. Thanksgiving is pretty much synonymous with turkey, the bird gracing the platter in the middle of the holiday table. But this year, the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving gathering may not be poultry but politics, i.e., discussions (arguments?) about the area of the world in which Turkey is located. That’s Turkey with a capital “T” as in the country and not a bird Butterball is hawking. I mean what family gathering isn’t complete without heated debate between blood relatives who make each other’s blood boil with opposite stances on hot button political issues?

In case you have been living under a rock, perhaps one the size of, say, Plymouth Rock, it may behoove you to learn that hordes of Syrian refugees are in Europe and looking for a new home. Uncle Sam’s neighborhood has been mentioned as a possibility. Some kind-hearted and compassionate Americans have become cheerleaders for Welcome Wagon and can’t wait to deliver a nice, piping hot casserole to these refugees upon their arrival. Other, more security conscious Americans, are urging that we pull up the drawbridge to protect the womenfolk and children from murderous heathens who could blow us to kingdom come while we are at a concert or out to dinner.  Gosh darn.  Now while eating our Thanksgiving meal we not only have to decide what kind of pie to have for dessert (pumpkin? pecan? apple?), but we have to take a position on life-altering decisions for thousands of Syrian refugees?

Shifting the table talk to the presidential race is not an option.  That change will lead right back into the same debate because, of course, a candidate’s stance  on foreign policy issues is a key consideration.  Just ask poor Ben Carson.  He has been shot down like a Thanksgiving turkey, plunging from his #1 spot in the polls.  Why?  Perhaps it is because, as one of his top advisers claims, the good doctor is unable to process “one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.”   That’s a bit harsh; he’s a neurosurgeon for crying out loud.  I doubt Middle East Affairs 101 was an elective in med school.  And how many of us could pick Syria out on a map if asked to do so?  (HINT:  It borders Turkey.)


Instead of attempting to solve the world’s problems, maybe we Americans should just take the day of Thanksgiving to well, simply give thanks.  The fact that we are alive and (relatively) safe (for the moment) is reason enough to thank our Creator.  If we knew an iota about terrorism, we’d be thanking our Creator EVERY DAY for our safety.  Think ISIS is all we have to worry about?  HA!  The U.S. Department of State has an extensive “menu” of FTO’s (Foreign Terrorist Organizations) which it  has helpfully listed for us on its website.  Choose from approximately 60 named groups including Abu Nidal, Hamas, Boko Haram (currently ranked the #1 deadliest FTO), the Real (as opposed to the fake) Irish Republican Army, Shining Path, and the Palestinian Liberation Front, to give you security nightmares in addition to indigestion from your Thanksgiving feast.

The menu choice is yours this week.  You can have dinner with political debate on the side.  Or you can embrace the essence of the holiday and count your blessings while consuming copious comestibles (and presumably not counting your calories).  Let’s take time to be  thankful for life and provisions–whether white or dark meat; peacefully co-exist with your relatives and perhaps an annoying in-law for the day by avoiding divisive topics.   Pray for peace in and around Turkey while having a  piece of turkey.IMP0190013