We are all thankful for something. I can be just as thankful for the absence of something as I can the presence of something else. Wait a sec – that was confusing wasn’t it? Let me ‘splain then.
We tend to think of "thankfulness" as just being thankful for things we DO have. I have my health, I have a great family, a nice car, etc., etc. But what about the absence of things? I for example am thankful that I do not have a serious disease. I am thankful I do not have a big pile of bills that I cannot pay. Right now I am thankful for there being no major drama in my life!
I have a silly head game I play when I have a pain of some type. For example, if I have a toothache, I think to myself, " When this pain is gone I will be so thankful, and I will appreciate healthy teeth even more". But do I actually ever follow through on that? Not usually, because when the pain is gone, I forget it. When my car breaks down I am always SO annoyed with it. Then I have to take it to a car dealer to get it repaired, which is always a difficult experience. But when I am driving down the road on a long trip, and my vehicle obediently and reliably takes me 500-600 miles in comfort, quietly and safely, am I thankful enough? Rarely. Ouch.
You see where I am going here? As we approach a new holiday season with both Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, how thankful are we for the things we do not have to deal with? Here is a radical thought process for your holidays. On Thanksgiving this year, before you say your prayer of thanks, have each person share something they do NOT have that they are thankful for. You may find some interesting things, but it will also make you more thankful for what you do have. Go ahead – shake up the tradition a little!
Here is the one I really want you to hear though. At Christmas, before opening a huge pile of new presents under the tree this year, why not pause, and thank God for something you do not have to worry about, which was the entire meaning of the day. Know what that one is? You do NOT have to pay the price for your sins. God solved that problem for you, and continues to solve it for you every day as he gives you grace and forgiveness. Jesus died so that you do NOT have to suffer the consequences. If that sounds hokey or religious to you, then find someone who does understand that. Because he DID have to, I DO NOT have to. I am so thankful I don’t. Are you?
Go ponder this one. It’s very cool.