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?