Canada has already done it. The United States will do it soon. I am speaking of course of the holiday of Thanksgiving. In that area, Canada leads the United States by celebrating Thanksgiving in October. In the United States, though, because our Thanksgiving is later in the month, many people spend the days leading up to Thanksgiving explaining why they are thankful. The whole month of November is given over to thanks. When we think about all that God has done for us through the ages, perhaps we ought to have a year of Thanksgiving. What if we spent a year remembering to thank God every day for His blessings? What if we spent a year having a thankful attitude in our reactions with others? We might see an interesting revolution in society.
Paul began most of his letters to churches with a note of thanksgiving. I believe that the only church that did not receive a note of thanksgiving for their faith is the church at Galatia where Paul gave his customary greeting of grace and peace, but then immediately launched into his concerns with the church. To most churches, though, Paul sent a greeting that included thanks. Most of the thanks included a message of gratitude for how God was working in them. This was his message to the church at Thessalonica. “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
I think people today idolize the early Church at times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that we would be fine if we could go back to the ways of the early Church. Talking about this the other day I mentioned that there were a lot of good things about the early Church, but they had a few problems too. If they wanted to research those problems, they could read the New Testament. Most of the letters that we read today were written to deal with problems in the early church. When we realize that truth, it is, to me, even more amazing that when Paul began his letters to each church, except for the Galatian church, he began with thanksgiving. While the early church had problems, the attitude shown by Paul is a great one for us to pick up on today: we should show a lot more thanks in this world.
Let’s start a revolution today. Find something to be thankful for in the people you deal with. In the United States, today might be a good day to start because we have so many veterans. We can make today a day of thanking veterans – which it’s supposed to be anyway. Thank veterans for their service, their sacrifice. Most of our veterans have served overseas, and that in itself is a sacrifice especially if one has a wife or husband at home along with kids. But don’t stop at thanking vets today – keep on doing it when you see a vet. Take time to thank the people that you don’t normally even recognize. How many custodians do you thank for helping to keep businesses clean, including the place you work? Thank the cashiers at convenience stores and coffee shops. Make a special point to thank those whose service may not have been perfect because they are so busy or they have had to deal with other customers who didn’t know the right way to express thanks. (Yes, that means they were rude.) Let’s start a revolution of kindness and gratitude. Let’s make that a lifestyle that shows honor to other people. That’s one way you can change the world.
Lord, I thank You for Your love, compassion, mercy, and grace. It’s so easy to take the good things of this life for granted because You provide them freely. Remind me to show You gratitude, and to show gratitude to others who have helped me through the day.