Is this the year we sit around our Thanksgiving tables in fear and loathing, wondering where did it go amok? Do we rattle off our list of thanks with all the enthusiasm of reciting the multiplication tables?
I’ve lived through elections since the late 70’s when I became eligible to cast my ballot. Saturday Night Live heavily influenced my choice for Carter as I’m sure it’s influenced many a generation since. I think their ‘campaign slogan’ was “Carter, he’s taller”. I hope today’s young voters are smarter than my post-hippie crowd.
From all media outlets, social and network, our country seems to be collectively grieving the election results. It would seem clear this will not be on our gratitude list. We won’t be saying thanks for President-elect Trump or his family. We won’t be adding to our gratitude litany the electoral process or free public election process to all registered voters (unless they voted like us).
I suppose we’ll hang our heads as we mumble our thanks for food, family and faith. Those are the big three around our table said with genuine gratitude. We’ve lost most of our parents and know how this life passes in a flash. We know the faith instilled in us from our family and those two go hand in hand. We will be forever thankful for both.
But what of the hard things in our life? The job that didn’t come through, the man who walked out on his wife and newborn, an unknown future, the crumbling marriage?
How do these parts of life fit in with gratitude?
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 the Message
How do we thank God “no matter what happens”?
I don’t know how to find thanks for mama’s Alzheimer’s but I’m thankful that it brought my sister and I closer.
I can’t mouth the words “thank-you” for addiction and relapse but my heart has been softened to those struggling with this disease.
We didn’t give thanks for my brother’s cancer diagnosis but we were filled with gratitude for the successful surgery. Did we miss thanking God for family and friends who came closer together and supported us during that time?
When we gather around the Thanksgiving table again this year, I don’t think our gratitude will be for the chairs that now sit empty. The chairs once filled by my uncle and my husbands parents. We’ve given thanks for their presence but their absence still brings sorrow.
I don’t know the answer to giving thanks in all things. I can only pray to the One who is worthy.
Our Most High God, give us hearts that can sing your praise in easy times as well as the hard. Let us know your presence when the way is dark as we know your presence in the light. May we cry with those who cry and dance with those who dance knowing you are always a good God. Help us to see past our wants to your will. Help us to count all as grace.