Where does one begin to talk about all that there is to be thankful for? It is quite a daunting task if you think about it. I am tempted to subdivide the things I’m thankful for into “big” and “small” things and use this post to highlight only the “biggest.”
In that type of post, it would be very easy for me to say how awesome my family is. I could write about how great my friends are. I could tell you about how grateful I am to have a job because I know that is a thing that many people of my generation are not so fortunate to have. I could show you a picture of the new van I was so thankful to be able to buy on Monday night. You could hear me going on for hours about how great it is to be able to play power soccer and to have the opportunity to compete. I could then write a summary about how all of these things are wonderful but what I truly am most thankful for is God’s gift of His Son for my salvation. No matter how thankful I might be for anything material on earth, there is nothing that can compare to that greatest gift.
These are “big” things that immediately come to mind when I think about what I am thankful for, and they are all true. These are probably the most important things in my life that come to the forefront because they are “big” and obvious.
However, I think that we find ourselves in a dilemma of sorts when we tried to divide the things we’re thankful for into groups because it seems to me that thankfulness is not dependent on size.
Thankfulness is an attitude, so it is something that comes from within ourselves. It doesn’t come from that which we are thankful for. Using my van as an example, I can make a choice to be thankful for that. However, the thankfulness is not something that comes with a vehicle like new tires or the new car smell. There is not an intrinsic quality of any car that forces someone to be thankful for it. I can either be thankful or not thankful.
Or, we can go to the ultimate greatest gift that anyone could receive, salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus died and rose again. That is a historical fact. He has already paid the price for the sin of the world and demonstrated His love for us through that. I am incredibly grateful for that although I know I should be more grateful.
Not everyone is thankful for His sacrifice however. For variety of reasons, there are many people who simply don’t feel the need to praise and worship God for all that He has done.
If that is true, then the perceived size of whatever I am thankful for really ought to not matter because it is not as if more thankfulness comes from those “big” things. Thankfulness doesn’t come from things anyway; it comes from my choice.
I know that we particularly take today to think about all of the things that we’re thankful for, and, don’t get me wrong, it is better to make the choice to be thankful one day per year than zero days per year. This holiday is undoubtedly a good thing.
However, because being thankful is a choice, it seems to me that it should be limited to just this one day. Rather, it should characterize our behavior all year round. If it is good to be thankful, which I think we can agree on since we all seem to be good at posting how thankful we are on Facebook today, let’s try to make that our attitude all year round.
Of course, that is easier said than done because if we are going to consciously make the choice to be thankful, then we need to do that on good days and bad days. It is easy to be thankful when you have a great meal on the table and are surrounded by family and friends. It is a lot harder to be thankful the day after you’re fired from your job or your car breaks down.
Thankfulness is still choice. If it was a choice before, it is a choice now, and if it is good to be thankful, then it is similarly good to be thankful when times are not so hot. We can be thankful for “big” things or “small” things. We can even be thankful when the sun doesn’t seem to be shining. There is also something to be thankful for, and let’s try to find that on days other than the fourth Thursday of November.