Grouse For Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving Day. It’s that time when we crowd around full tables with empty stomachs, eat our weight in turkey, then try to stand up. At some point someone may crack a turkey joke. “How many cooks does it take to stuff a turkey? Just one. The trick is squeezing him in there.” Everyone will clutch their stomachs and groan.

One Thanksgiving, the clerk at a supermarket was unusually cheerful. A customer asked her, “Why so happy today?” “Well,” she replied, “the hardest part of this job is picking up these turkeys and watermelons. I just thank God that Thanksgiving doesn’t come in July.” Every cloud has a silver lining if you look at it through the right lens. Of course, some are skilled at finding the negative in everything. Two friends met for coffee one day. One looked gloomy. “What’s wrong?” the first friend asked. “Well, three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me four thousand dollars,” replied the second friend. “Wow! That’s great!” “Two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me forty thousand dollars.”
“Woah. You have been blessed beyond—” “You don’t understand!” his sad friend interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. She left me four hundred thousand dollars.” Now the man’s friend was really confused. “Then, why do you look like gloomy?” “Because this week, I got nothing!”

I think we are all guilty of overlooking abundant blessings every day. I sure am. I overlook the fact that I woke up in a bed this morning. Millions didn’t. I had lunch today with a buddy. Tonight my wife and I are going to make waffles. What more could I ask for?

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” I’m forgiven. Adopted as God’s child. Filled with his Spirit. I’m promised eternity with Jesus because of what he has done for me. I am been blessed beyond reason. And yet, a few days ago, my day was ruined. My wife and I were far from home and I found a nail in my tire. I griped. I groused. Just ask my wife. I heard her mutter something, and I knew what it was. She said, “First world problems.” I didn’t appreciate that at all. But she was right. Millions have no car. I do. It has a jack in the back. And one of those flimsy little tires that will get me to a service station. In the midst of the everyday, I’m slowly learning that the size of my smile depends less on my circumstances, and more on what I choose to focus on.

So today, as Thanksgiving nears, I shall at least start by giving thanks that I am not a turkey.

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