Thanksgiving is just a few days away. So I look at the American landscape this week with gratitude. I have had a week of extraordinary gratitude. On Friday several situations in my life reached their peak, peaks which I fully expected to go completely and utterly south. The build up to these peaks gave every indication that they were going to be ugly. And yet, in succession in the course of about 3 hours they all came to happy, acceptable solutions – quite apart from any actions of mine. I am indeed grateful – for that and so, so much more.
The question is, grateful to whom?
But I also note the ungrateful among us. The permanently embittered, the ever dissatisfied. And with this eye it seems that there is a gratitude gap that helps define the great cultural and political divide in our nation. I observe that the opposite of gratitude seems, on a practical level, to be avarice. If we are not grateful for what we have, we are always seeking more – of whatever it is that you think will satisfy you.
Again the question of “grateful to whom?” arises. You see, avarice, always seeking more, can result because no matter what you have, no matter how much you accumulate, if you have no one to thank for it you cannot be grateful for it and without gratitude there can be no contentment.
It seems that gratitude is not simply something we express, it is also something we need. We need it to find contentment and happiness. Further it seems to be grateful, we need someone to be grateful to.
So it is apropos that this Sunday morning, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I go to church looking for the source of all good things – the One that fully deserves my gratitude. For the Thanksgiving holiday to be truly meaningful, it is wholly right that it begin the Sunday before – that it begin with God.
This morning I will go to church as David entered the Temple:
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.