On Thanksgiving Day there’s plenty of turkey at our house. We count our blessings, and then lie around on the floor nursing a pumpkin pie hangover, wondering how we could ever go outside and play football. But somehow we manage. We call it the CATDOG game, the Callaway Annual Thanksgiving Day Oldtimers Game. I’m happy to report I’m still able to keep up with the young ins. For much of the first quarter anyway.
Thanksgiving is a time of reflection on what we are grateful for, but for some of us it’s a reminder that things could be better. Our car is showing its age and our face is too. Oh sure, we know that so many have it worse than we, but maybe you find yourself thinking about those who don’t. Like the neighbor whose marriage seems perfect, whose kids are so well behaved. Maybe it’s the friend with the ideal job, the one fortune smiled upon while frowning on you. Such a perspective offers charter membership in the fellowship of the perpetually crabby. And the cure is in one of the toughest verses in the Bible, Romans 12:15. It says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”
Sometimes when something good happens to someone else, my first thought is, “Hey! It didn’t happen to me.” I find it easy to rejoice at a wedding. But it’s hard for some of my single friends. I heard a story about two writers who were jealous of each other. The first wrote a hugely successful novel. The second couldn’t seem to break into the publishing world. When the two met at a party, the second man said, “I bought your book. It’s good. Who wrote it for you?” The first writer said, “Thanks. Who read it to you?”
Are you comparing yourself with others? It will steal your joy. So let’s leave comparison corner in the dust? Here’s how. Flick your left eyebrow with your right index finger. Come on. Do this. And say, “Stop it!” Stop looking at others. Her hairdo sure beats mine. I wish I could wear that dress! Stop it. Envy scratches nothing that itches. The moment we look to others the grousing begins. The moment we look to God the gratitude begins. He alone says, “I have what you really need and I’ll give it to you.”
Eight-year-old Christina had cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she said, “I don’t know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!” Let’s offer up this simple prayer today: “Father, in a world where so many are hungry, we thank you for food. Where so many are lonely we thank you for friends. Where many are without hope, we thank you for Jesus, God’s son. Amen.”