Pondering Thanksgiving

A confession: I am as likely to focus on what I lack or what I miss as on what I have. Living in a spirit of Thanksgiving is hard for me. So today I am grateful that we take out a day to at regularlize the idea of gratitude.

I am blessed in many ways. I have a very cool wife, good and creative kids, a job in the midst of this recession, my mortgage is not under water, a love for writing/reading/learning, enough technology to drive me crazy, a supportive church community, the opportunity to do interesting ministry with good friends and fellow travelers, enough time and money to help out agencies doing good work (in the neighborhood and around the world). Mostly I'm thankful for a God who showers grace upon my sorry disposition (see below). And that's not the half of it. So there, I've said it, for the record. Now feel free to remind me of this list when I am having a hard time being thankful!

Some interesting perspectives out there today that I need to share:

Seth Godin celebrates Thanksgiving, writing that, "For me, the holiday celebrates people who contribute with no expectation of anything in return." He urges his readers to live generously, to go out of their way for people who can't pay them back. Why?

I hope the answer is obvious. It is to me. The benefit is in the fact that they can't pay you back. The opportunity to instruct or assist when you can gain nothing in return is priceless. It creates meaning and momentum and structure.

Hmmm. I believe I've heard that thought before...

John O'Hara
(HT: Emergent Village) riffs on grace -- the whole reason for Thanksgiving.

Grace is classically defined as unearned favor. I’m beginning to realize that this, or any attempt at definition is far from adequate. And that’s because grace isn’t really grace until the hot glow of her presence has fallen on your own sorry disposition.

Brian McLaren
offers some commentary on the classic Thanksgiving hymn, "We Gather Together..."

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine; so from the beginning the fight we were winning: thou, Lord, wast at our side: all glory be thine!

What a beautiful thought, especially on the edge of the Advent season … God with us joining. Since God has joined with us, since God has inaugurated God’s peaceable kingdom, good can’t ultimately lose and evil can’t ultimately win. God has been with us, whatever we have experienced. Thanks be to God!

My favorite observation comes from my neighbor (relatively speaking), Todd Hiestand:

Stop reading my blog and hang out with your family.

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