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So Thankful for Those Little Teeth Marks!

A few days ago our oldest daughter told me that her clothes dryer was not heating. While she never asked me to try to fix it, I knew that would be a welcome act. I didn’t get to her house to check it, but I was thinking about her situation and trying to figure out what I could do to get it going again. Later on she called me and told me it was working again. Unbeknownst to her, somehow the setting dial had been moved to “no heat” (That sounds amazingly like something that would happen to me!). I could sense a great deal of gratitude in Sandra’s voice as she told me that she turned it to the proper setting and it was working fine now.

In this season of thanksgiving, we should all look for things—even little things—to be thankful for. 2020 has been a tough year to say the least, yet we are still blessed by God in more ways than we can count.

Thanksgiving Day holds many fond memories for me. Those memories demonstrate that I have an abundance of things to be thankful to God for. I was reminded of that as Gale and I sat at the table recently and once again discussed the little teeth marks in the colorful artificial fall squash on the dining room table. As Gale and I look at them we can vividly see a couple of squash with the imprints from years ago of tiny teeth that revealed that one of our little girls had chomped down on them. Was it Addy, or Madeline, or one of the others? There is a good possibility that it was all of the above. 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 challenges 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 refreshing river.