November 28, 2013 by J. Truett Glen
“I am thankful.” This isn’t just a fleeting expression to be made on a day or two during the calendar year. This phrase is representative of our very being. My name is gratitude. The essence of my life is wrapped up in the generosity of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It’s God’s will for us in Jesus because it is the only appropriate response that the created can give to a good creator. It is the only appropriate response that the redeemed can give to the redeemer. It is the only appropriate response that the saved can give to the savior. I am grateful that I have lived my whole life in a nation that has an official day of expressing communal gratitude.
Please do not let it go unnoticed that we celebrate a heritage of native Americans showing charity and sharing wisdom with the Pilgrims that were among the first European settlers of this continent. We are all in a vulnerable condition in this life, and in need of grace. This reminds me of Emmanuel Levinas’ statement, “suffering is the impossibility of nothingness.” I respond to Levinas that thanksgiving and gratitude are the impossibility of a human’s self-sufficiency. They are a testimony of our continual need, and a picture of our soul.
I am thankful. The Lord has blessed my family and me greatly. There is no doubt that suffering has taught us to thank God and that we have learned to thank God in suffering. We continue to learn that all things are a gift. All things are a means to grow closer to the Other who gave us life. Thank you Father. Thank you for love, companionship, camaraderie, brotherhood, intimacy, shelter, food, rain, laughter, trees, leaves, color, smell, sight, pets, friends, family, drink, pipe smoking, good books, wood fireplaces, and countless other things. All good things are of God, and I am thankful for all of them. I’ve got some issues with cheese, but I’m slowly working through those ☺.