When Erma Bombeck was fighting her own battle with cancer, she often told the story of a young patient she met named Christina, who had cancer of the nervous system. When she was asked what she wanted for her birthday, the little girl thought for a while and then shrugged, “I don’t know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I already have everything!”
Erma said, “When I forget to feel grateful, I hear Christina saying, ‘I already have everything!'” A little perspective is a remedy for thanklessness if there ever was one.
It’s so easy in our never-enough, discontented society to forget to be thankful for what we have, because we’re always focused on what we don’t have. Even in a week supposedly dedicated to giving thanks, we can lose sight of what Thanksgiving is all about.
Though Thanksgiving Day is not a distinctly Christian holiday, thanks-giving as an act is a major biblical teaching. Scripture is full of admonitions to give thanks, and examples of those who did. There is no more specific exhortation than the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” There’s that word again: everything. And Paul does not mince words; he says that it is God’s will for us to be thankful, in everything, even when times are tough. And, for whatever it’s worth, he’s not just talking about mouthing words of Thanksgiving before we slice into the turkey next week, but living life with an attitude of gratitude, day by day.
Here’s hoping we don’t miss the significance of the Thanksgiving holiday festivities in the week ahead. As we count our blessings, may we realize than in Christ we “already have everything” and so live our lives in a way that reflects hearts of grateful praise.
I’m thankful for each of you. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.