I have lots of reasons to be unthankful. In fact, I have a whole plethora of thankless misfortunes to choose from. The question is where to begin?
I could be unthankful for my health. That provides a whole host of grievances in the form of symptoms in which I could air. Lets just say that if this were Festivus and Seinfeld were real life, my physical body would provide plenty of ammunition for the annual Airing of Grievances. I'd kick off the ritual by telling my body that I have a lot of problems with it and then I'd enumerate those problems starting with the most recent muscle flaring in my left leg. I would then travel up my left arm, rant at my optic neuropathy and curse headaches. If there would be time during the celebration I might discuss symptoms that didn't occur just this week.
There would also be the option of beginning outside of my physical body. I could be unthankful for less-than ideal family circumstances. For the second year in a row, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will be spent under a dark cloud of heartache. Wayward children have caused a sadness to befall every get together. Strained relationships have cracked and walls of hurt have been built in their place. How can a family celebrate when there is so much disharmony?
Outside the walls of my home and the boundaries of my body I can easily find more reasons to be unthankful. The world is in peril. The news tells a twenty four seven story of tragedy, danger and distress. Rioters burning flags. Students killed on their way home from school. Countries at war. Christians persecuted and killed for their faith. Where the news leaves off sitcoms pick up. Even so-called "comedies" are a tragedy with their immoral, debase humor and crude language.
If I had an unthankful tree it would be in full bloom.
Thankfully, I tore down the tree.
This Thanksgiving, next Thanksgiving and every day in between there will be cause for unthankfulness. In this fallen and sin-covered world there will always be tragedy, sadness and reasons to grieve. Loved ones will disappointment. Health will fail us. Defeat will knock on our doorstep. Evil will be set like a trap in the woods.
And yet there will always be reason for Thanksgiving.
You see, what satan means for our destruction and our emotional devastation, God means for good. He has plans for our ill health. God has stories of restoration and redemption to tell in the shattered plot of family discord. There is spiritual renewal to be experienced in physical distress and holiness that can only be found on our knees.
The truth is, all of the reasons I can find to be unthankful are precisely the reasons to be full of praise and thanksgiving because the struggle is where I get to meet my Savior. When Christ gives me a cross to carry it is so that I can walk alongside Him. God hasn't given me trials and heartache to have a Festivus celebration. He's given them to me so that I can have the truest, purest, most genuine type of joy. The kind that can only be found when I come to the end of myself and find my thankfulness in simply being one with Him.
When you and I look at our circumstances with the eyes of the world we will always find reasons to be unthankful. So turn your eyes to Jesus. He will rewrite your reasons to be thankful. He will turn your unthankfulness into joyful praise. Because He is alive and active. He is at work in your family, your body and this world. He is working in the struggles and the trials to write the story of His great redemption and everlasting love.
Aren't you thankful?