Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bridge to Thanksgiving

I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You.... and give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth.
-Psalm 138:1-2

Thanksgiving. It's all we hear this week. Be thankful. Give thanks. And we will, too. I mean, someone will say the blessing before we eat....

Ummm... We are missing Thanksgiving.

I was sitting in church Sunday listening to the Thanksgiving message. Our pastor has just returned from doing some work in Kenya, and he related a story of the indigenous people killing two goats (a feast, indeed) and offering our pastor the head. To eat. I inwardly gagged as he described the ceremony in which these folks devoured whole goats. No thanks. My idea of a feast is cheeseburger with a side of cheeseburger. But I'll settle for turkey and dressing tomorrow. You know, if I must.

Anyway, our preacher went on to say that during their time away, a fellow pastor was asked if he was rich. No, the pastor said, laughing, Not hardly.

Do you have a house? the same man asked.

Yes, yes, I have a house, the preacher replied.

How many rooms? continued the man.

Three bedrooms, a garage... the preacher answered.

You have a car? the man asked, incredulously.

Yes, my wife and I both have one.

What about children?

Two, replied the preacher. One's in college and one's still at home.

You all healthy? Not sick?

No, no, everyone's fine, the preacher said kindly.

Sir, you are RICH, the man said, awestruck.

It hit home. I would say the same if someone were to ask me if I'm rich: ha, not hardly. But... I have a huge house - all to myself. I have high-speed internet and a nice vehicle and great clothes and comfortable furniture. My family is healthy and safe. Suddenly my plans for a flat panel TV and spa bathroom seem as shallow as those goat fire-pits in Kenya.

We are rich beyond measure. Why in the world are we not thankful? Going through the motion of this week, it seems like I'm on one side of the water, and a spirit of true Thanksgiving is on the other. I need a bridge. A bridge to Thanksgiving.

I complain too often. My house is cold, I grumble. So I go out and buy insulation. (Sure, I don't read the directions and end up with black, sticky fingers for a week, but still. Insulation is in.) And I moan, I need money. For what? (I caught The Nutcracker at the Strand this week. I have plenty of food in the fridge. No one should pity me. I'm not needy. At all.)

Point is, I'm blessed. My salvation is secure and until then, my needs will be covered. So why in the world does my voice join in with the chorus of complaining crap that daily reaches God's ears?

I consulted my Bible. It seems to say that the answer to Thanksgiving... to being in the true spirit of Thanksgiving... is to meaningfully say those words that were drilled (beaten) into us as kids: thank you.

Thank you, God, for Your provision. Your salvation. Your lovingkindness (that's a cool word), and Your truth. You are faithful, and I am grateful.

There. Even as I type it, I feel all Thanksgivingy inside. I could be a pilgrim. The more thanks I proclaim, the more thankful I become.

Pass the turkey. We've relocated the bridge to Thanksgiving.

No comments: