spread a mile wide (Thank you that we aren't persecuted/poor like those unfortunate people in ________ pick a country)
and an inch deep. (Thanks for all our stuff. And our perfect family!)
And does anyone else think it's ironic that the national day for supposedly showing gratefulness for "all our stuff" is immediately followed by "Black Friday," a day known as the pushin'est, shovin'est shopping day of the year?
Apparently we aren't as grateful as we'd like to let on. (Or maybe we think our friends/relatives aren't, since we're supposedly shopping for them!) Black Friday horror stories abound, and they're characterized by greed and numerous of the other deadly sins (including wrath, pride, lust, and envy, leaving only sloth and gluttony which most people probably checked off the list the day before!
And then, faster than you can cook and carve an 18 pound bird and clean up the dishes, Thanksgiving is gone, forgotten, re-shelved until the turkey hunger returns in 364 days.
We juggle the phrase around like a loose football, but neglect to practice it on any level that would make the day, or our lives, meaningful. Even in church settings, we have a tendency to speak of our many blessings, but then limit our superficial list to what we have that a lot of other people don't have, and aren't we "blessed…" or are we just lucky? You know, warm house, plenty of clothes, healthy bodies, food and more food, gathered family, good jobs, toys for one and all…and when I hear those lists, something inside of me cringes.
Is that it, is that all we've got on our thankful list?
"Dear God, We love it! (Insert "The List" here.) Please keep it coming! (Notice, I said please!) Oh, and thank you. Amen."
That's it, that's Thanksgiving?
Or is there more,
much, much more?
Oh, dear God, you have already done so much, and we ponder it so little.
But what you have done is foundational and transformational, and your love is unconditional.
We give you thanks, Almighty God, for all Your gifts so freely bestowed upon us and all whom You have made….
This year those words have been a game changer, a lens refocuser…
what are the gifts so freely bestowed upon us and all.whom. You. Have. made?
The prayer continues:
We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of life.
For the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
For the hope of glory (what's to come!!)
And the means of grace (what we need for this day…)
We thank you O Lord.
Grant us such an awareness of Your mercies, we pray, that with truly thankful hearts
we may give You praise, not only with our lips,
but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves for Your service…
This Thanksgiving season, I want my gratitude to go a little deeper.
I want to understand more of the gifts God has freely bestowed on all whom He has made,
gifts that He wants to be made available to anyone, anywhere, in any circumstance.
I want my list to stir in someone else a longing to move closer to Jesus, to understand more about what God offers.
And I want to ask His help to see those in my world who do not yet know the wonder of this amazing list.
The daily Presence.
Strength for today.
Hope for tomorrow.
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside...