At the bank drive up window yesterday, after deposit is made, the teller cheerfully tells me, “Have a Happy Thanksgiving!” I smile, return her greeting. And think: it’s funny how saying “Merry Christmas” has become a political statement in recent years, replaced by the careful politically correct “Happy Holidays.” But such ridiculousness has not yet hit Thanksgiving.
Despite the fact that stores are opening early, that the god of mammon threatens to overthrow it, Thanksgiving is the one holiday fully Christian, yet fully inclusive of all faiths. Anyone can be grateful.
It is a day to be thankful. Which begs the question, whom are we thanking?
Gratitude without an object is hollow. If we feel grateful but don’t believe the blessings came from somewhere, we miss out on the best part of Thanksgiving–seeing the joy of the giver.
Have you ever given someone a gift that hit the mark exactly? That delighted them? The unexpected blessing is that you get such a kick out of seeing their delight. To give a good gift brings the giver as much joy as the recipient.
Picture the best moment of that in your life: the time you gave someone a gift they weren’t expecting but you knew they wanted. The time you received a generous and just at the right time gift.
The giver, knowing they’ve not only met a need but simply delighted the recipient, feels joy and a certain satisfaction. Some people love giving gifts. God is that kind of person–who delights in being generous.
Could it be that God feels such delight? Could it be that God actually has fun giving us good things? (Even if that good thing is strength to bear our difficulties?)
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And in this day, hidden in the simple and small things, is an opportunity to wonder at the character of God. Take time to say thank you, to think about ways you are blessed (even if you are in a season of pain or struggle). Don’t do it for yourself. While gratitude transforms us, banishes our fear, helps us to be happier–if we are only grateful for our own sake, we’re living selfish. And we’re missing out on the best part.
Tomorrow, be grateful as an act of worship, as a way to make God smile, to bless him, to bring delight to the Giver of all good things. Consider, prayerfully, how much fun God is having blessing you.
What are you grateful this Thanksgiving? How does seeing God as someone who enjoys being generous change your perspective?