If, this Thanksgiving, you feel like throwing your hands up in the air and groaning “thanks for what?” you’re not alone. It feels, at times, that this world is more for bemoaning than for giving thanks.
Vicious enemies of peace and relentless persecutors of Christians have left bloody footprints from the deserts of Iraq and the forests of Africa to the streets of Europe. A medieval menace is scourging the world, scattering refugees and leaving death in its wake.
At home, the foundation of society, the family, has been ill-defined by government. Traditional values are, at best, mocked and, at worst, condemned as hateful. Men and women who sacrifice themselves to protect us have become public enemies, while the angry mob curries more favor than the reasoned argument.
Unbelievably, the slaughter of the unborn not only continues, but the precious bodies of the innocents have become points for profit, harvested like choice fruits and exchanged on a gruesome black market.
Our personal lives may seem no less chaotic.
But many of us struggle with physical and mental health problems. Many are estranged from their families. The poor amongst us have grown, while opportunity has shrunk. Winter approaches and for many it will be a cold, bleak season.
Yes, this Thanksgiving, it may be easy to wonder what we have to be thankful for. But no matter what the state of the world is, or the state of our nation, or our individual circumstances, we have much to be thankful for.
We give thanks for Creation, for the amazing, unbelievably complicated, forever fascinating universe God has laid out before our eyes. The first and most basic gift is that God has created a universe for us to enjoy. God has willed that there be time and space, and an Earth and on it people to serve Him. No matter how we may have abused or despoiled His Creation, everything we are and that is, is worthy of our endless appreciation.
We draw a breath, and with this breath we offer a prayer of thanksgiving for life itself, for our lives and the lives of all those around us. Every beat of our heart bursts with potential. Every moment is a celebration of our love for God, and His love for us.
We can also give thanks for the humbling sacrifice of God’s only Son, as He bore our sins in his earthly torment on the Cross so we may know the fullness of His Father’s love forever in heaven. If we struggle to find anything to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, look to the crucifix and be grateful that the door of heaven is open to you, through the suffering of the Son of Man.
Jesus’ death makes possible the forgiveness of all our sins. Give praise of thanksgiving to God, as we step towards Advent and prepare for His coming!