In the Christian faith we focus – quite understandably – on the awesome truth that in the crucifixion of Jesus, God himself was purchasing our forgiveness. That is the greatest gift we could ever have and we must always be grateful for that. Yet there are also an enormous number of other smaller things where God’s love towards his children spills over into numerous different areas and we should recognise them everywhere.
One conversation at the water cooler or in passing with your neighbor is enough to remind you that people are upset, scared, depressed, or hurting. So, how could we possibly celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude? Not with earthly platitudes that fail to warm a broken heart stripped of all hope. We need more than that. So, where do we turn?
What makes Thanksgiving difficult for you this year? Are you dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one? Challenges in your health, family, or finances? Guilt over the past or fear of the future? In collating gratitude with suffering, we have four logical options we can view as a Thanksgiving spectrum.
As our society continues its post-Christian slide into secularism, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas have become secularized as well. One can go the entire Christmas season without seeing a mention of Christ’s birth in secular culture; Thanksgiving has become far less about gratitude to God and far more about football and feasting. Thus we should not be surprised when even gratitude becomes generically secularized. But we should not overlook the illogic of this trajectory nor the power of thanksgiving when it is properly directed.