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I’m thankful for the teeth marks in the artificial squash

couple weeks ago the local grocery store had frozen turkey breasts at a good price, so I decided to take advantage of the deal.  I went toward the meat department and located a freezer that I quickly assumed contained what I was looking for.  I thought they looked rather large to be turkey breasts, but I bought one anyway.  It was only after I got home that I realized that what I purchased was not what I thought—it was whole turkey.  I will try to remind myself that I must use my reading glasses when I am shopping alone!  The fortunate part of my mistake was that I brought home the Thanksgiving turkey early this year.  As I write it is thawing in the refrigerator in preparation for my favorite meal of the year.

Thanksgiving Day holds many fond memories for me.  Those memories demonstrate that I have so tremendously much to be thankful to God for.  I was reminded of that as Gale and I sat at the table earlier today.  As part of her decorations for the season, she placed a bowl filled with colorful artificial fall squash on the dining room table.  As Gale and I looked at them we noticed a couple of them with the imprints from several years ago of tiny teeth that revealed that one of our little girls had chomped down on it.  Was it Addy, or Madeline, or one of the others?  We don’t know for sure, but we do know that we are thankful for our children, grandchildren, and other children that know us as Nana and Papa.  All of them are beautiful gifts that God has lovingly placed into our lives.

The words found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 challenge us to continually offer our expressions of gratitude to God:  “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (New International Version).  Even though we will not always like everything that comes our way, as a follower of Christ, whatever we face should be seen as rich opportunities to give God thanks for His goodness.

As we reflect upon the many blessings that we receive from God, we should evaluate our degree of gratitude to God.  It is unfortunate that we too frequently fail to express genuine thanks for all that God has done in our lives. 

Luke 17 tells of one of the great miracles of Christ–the healing of ten men with leprosy.  In that day leprosy was a dreaded disease that brought horrible physical, social and emotional pain to those afflicted by it.  To be set free from such a malady was something not to be taken lightly.  Strangely, only one of the ten former lepers came back to offer thanks to Christ for working such a supernatural healing in their lives.  Furthermore, Luke gives us a detail that is important, albeit easily overlooked:  the one who returned and thanked Christ with audible praises to God was a Samaritan (verse 16).  To put it mildly, the Samaritans were held in low esteem by the Jewish people. Nevertheless, it was the Samaritan–or “foreigner” as Christ described him (verse 18)–who returned to give thanks for what he had received. 

During this Thanksgiving season, may we dare to be among the minority that is willing to offer sincere thanks to God.  Admittedly, it is easy to pay too much attention to the raw deals that life seems to give us.  But when we let God give us a fresh glimpse of His unconditional love, thankfulness will flow from within us like a mighty river.