We woke up Saturday morning to a frosty house and no hot water. There was a problem with some gas lines in our area that left several houses chilly on a cold day. My Saturday morning didn’t go quite like expected as I tried to find some heat for the Posties to stay warm. But I was reminded how blessed we are. It wasn’t a true hardship to be without heat for a day, but it was an inconvenience. What does true hardship look like?
That question caused me to change my Children’s Church lesson for yesterday. We first described the things we do in the course of a day and then I showed them corresponding pictures of kids in Third World Countries. Drinking dirty water, eating a ration of rice, wearing shoes made of a crushed water bottle tied on with a rope.
When my kids get up each morning I don’t send them to find fire wood to make a fire or to walk a couple of miles in search of some clean water only to get a small ration of food. When I ask what they want for breakfast, their biggest worry is to decide which thing they want to choose, without any concern as to whether there might actually be breakfast or not.
We spend our days very differently than most of the world. We don’t have to use all our energy to survive, in search of resources that can sustain our family. We can just drive up to any drive thru window or walk into any grocery story and be stressed by the amount of choice available to us. And there in lies the challenge of Thanksgiving. We have become so blessed that we have grown apathetic and ungrateful. We complain about our “hardships”….we need to clean out the fridge because it is too crowded….my house is so big it takes too long to clean or my wireless router won’t reach through the whole house…..someone keeps changing the AC and I have to put on a jacket……..the pews at church are too hard…..my car doesn’t have heated seats and it’s cold outside……the line is too long at Starbucks…..I can’t decide what to order at the restaurant because there’s too many choices…..I actually have to wait for someone to serve me. Do I need to keep going or is this as embarrassing to you as it is to me?
This Thanksgiving season let’s remember that the Bible never reduces Thanksgiving to one day in November where we act like gluttons and get stressed by the fact that people are coming to our house. And it isn’t about having to cook 15 things so we can please everyone, because Heaven forbid we not all get what we want to eat on our one “Thanksgiving Day”….
So the bigger challenge of Thanksgiving isn’t how to fit all the people around the table or how to get all the food cooked at the same time or how to fit that many items on your plate without the food touching. The real challenge of Thanksgiving is to actually be thankful….and not just one day a year. Biblical Thanksgiving. Every day. All day. For everything. Every circumstance. Because God is good all the time. No matter what.