Thanksgiving is giving of thanks from your innermost thoughts and humor can sometimes get in the way. People ask me as a cancer survivor, "How are you?" When I respond positively here are just a few of the humorous responses. Some ball up their first and look for wood, to knock on three times, and since there is not the availability of wood, they knock on the next hardest thing, their head. Others thank their lucky stars. Some, really off the wall humor say, "thanks be to my dog". It's all based in humor, not belief, but I have noticed that when a positive thing happens, fewer and fewer people are comfortable just saying, "Thanks be to God". America is a comedic culture nation. Nothing and no one escapes American humor and it's a good thing. Nothing wrong with kidding around, and poking fun at the absurdities and mysteries of life. Adding a little, "Thanks be to God", to ones humored life, is a welcome addition.
Thanksgiving encompasses what has happened, what is happening, and what one hopes to happen. Giving of thanks for what one is already experiencing is pretty easy and straight forward. It is the giving of thanks for what is hoped for, that I and others struggle with. Here's one way to offer thanks for what is yet to be. A promise from scripture is Psalm 107: 19, 20. "He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions". Another one is in Isaiah 55:11
"so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."(NIV)
Thanksgiving is giving voice to the scripture (fact), not feelings or what one is currently experiencing. Returning scripture's promise back to God is giving of thanks for what is yet to be experienced. Finding your voice, and then giving your voice the opportunity to return thanks is a way God's Word returns to God after accomplishing and achieving the purpose for which it was sent.
My congregation bestowed upon me a gift certificate to an online store. I have had more fun, filling and emptying, filling and emptying my shopping cart many times. Soon, I will make my final choice and hit the send button. Though it will take a few days for the order to be received by me, it is a done deal. I then will wait with thanksgiving, for that which is coming. I don't keep hitting the send button. This Thanksgiving, a sea change for some may be including God in one's thanks. For others, it may be the giving voice to scripture, before a positive things is being experienced. My hope is that less thanks goes to the stars, to the dogs, to one's hard head, or wood, and more goes to God. All together now, "Thanks be to God".
Lord, help us with our giving of thanks. Our humor often gets in the way. Help us to give thanks for what is, what has been and what will be.