Hundreds of teachers, parents, clergy and bloggers are warming up their pens and computers to remind us of the many things for which we should give thanks. Typical among them are family, friends, resources, country, and culture.
In thinking about thankfulness I suspect we have to be careful about not being like Jesus’ depiction of the Pharisee who was praying of his gratitude that he was not like that other guy. Our gratitude needs to be rooted in thankfulness not judgement- even second hand.
I know that I meed to give thanks for some things not usually thought of as blessings. I give thanks for example for lean and hard times I experienced in my youth when my father was sick which has given me empathy and compassion for others who are struggling.
I give thanks for struggles that have made me stronger and more able to rely on God when the going gets rough. It has enabled me to see myself as inter-dependent rather than independent.
I even give thanks for relationships that were less than what I had expected and hoped for, as they have given me an appreciation for those life-giving relationships that I now enjoy.
In thinking about what we give thanks let’s dig a bit deeper this year and avoid mere surface gratitude of predictable subjects. It is far better to come to a mature thankfulness which recognizes the means and causes of our growth in love, caring and compassion.