Hey, it’s November. Time to pull out the gratitude talks! It’s time to talk about gratitude, have lessons about gratitude, and send cards about gratitude. It’s time to blog about gratitude! It’s time to offer thanks for the beautiful fall weather, the football season, our sweater collection, and the very large bird we’ve sent to his death for our big family shindig.
I used to really hate Thanksgiving. I’d always been so put off by it all. Shouldn’t I be grateful all year long? What’s with this quasi-compulsory gratitude business? You know everyone is just talking about gratitude because that’s what you do at Thanksgiving”¦ And so my thoughts would go. The problem with these thoughts, of course, is that I’m not grateful all year long. Oh, sure, I should be. I know that fully well enough. Maybe if I were grateful all year, the Thanksgiving lessons and treatises wouldn’t have fallen so heavily on my sour ears.
But a number of years ago, I had a change of heart. The turkey lay in a beautiful platter on our table. Spread out about the table was a bountiful spread of food. Around my table were so many of the people I love. I stared at the table, at that dang dead bird sitting there on the platter. I hadn’t burned it. I hadn’t burned it! I was so”¦well”¦ grateful! And as my view expanded to include my family, the fire in the fireplace, the warm, soft music in the background, the snow falling outside, I was filled with a sense of wholeness and completeness that I hadn’t ever felt in such strength before. I was completely and wholly filled with gratitude. I had everything that was important to me all in one place (family, mashed potatoes, snow”¦ not necessarily in that order).
I need Thanksgiving! I hollered (in my head, I hollered. I would have been inappropriate to holler during the prayer).
I needed Thanksgiving. What gives with that?
I just hate it when I’m wrong! I hate it when I’m the one being the turkey. There I was, all stuffed full of empty, buttery calories. Oh, sure, I might have tasted good, but was my attitude really healthy? I was completely crammed with artery clogging, self-righteous smugness. Up until that very moment at the table, I was positive I was right. I just knew that my attitude of contempt was the proper course of action.
But, of course, the Lord was so patient with me. He knew when the moment was right to soften me up. He knew that he should make it snow that day. He knew the kids would be darling and well behaved. He knew. So He sent me the little message that changed it all. He sent me gratitude.
Never before had I felt so overwhelmed with thanks for everything in my life ”“ but I’ve felt it many times since. And now Thanksgiving always reminds me that I have blessings and love beyond measure. And who couldn’t use a little reminder of that once in a while?
And, although I might not be the turkey anymore when it comes to Thanksgiving, I am still, and will always be, quite soft and buttery inside (just in case you were worried).