Giving Thanks

Vermilion 11/26/13

Monday was an absolutely AMAZING DAY!!!

  • There was a TREE in the treehouse!
  • The little garden pond in the back yard was FROZEN!,
  • The most amazing thing of all was that IT SNOWED!

These were but three of the many observations made by Sam, my 3 year-old grandson.  As you can imagine, they were made with great enthusiasm.  It was as if this was the first tree ever to be found on the inside of a treehouse; as if pond water had never frozen before; and as if these were the first snowflakes that had ever landed in Cleveland.  And of course, in Sam’s experience that was all true.

I, of course, knew better.  I had had a hand in building the treehouse and would have been shocked if there had not been a tree trunk inside; I knew when I heard the weather forecast the night before – calling for overnight lows in the teens – that the pond would be frozen in the morning;  I am used to getting our first real snowfall of the year around Thanksgiving – whether I like it or not.  I was not nearly as impressed as my grandson, but maybe I should have been.

No matter how old you are, something that looks like a house, eleven feet in the air and surrounding a big tree trunk, is an awesome thing.  And isn’t water amazing!  We drink it; we swim in it; and we skate on it. Finally, snow is incredible as well!  No two snowflakes are the same, I am told.  How can that be? How could we ever be casual about things that are so awesome?

This brings me to Thanksgiving.

What makes for thanksgiving?  Lots of stuff (and stuffing)?  Good health?  A big family gathered around a table piled to overflowing?  Let me suggest that far more important than any of these is an attitude of gratitude.

Our ability to give thanks is not a function of how much we have.  If it were then those with the most would be the best at thanksgiving.  We know that is not the case.  Thanksgiving is not founded on how much we have, but on the ability of recognizing that all that we have (measly or amazing) is a gift, and knowing who is the source of the gift.

One day I was walking across the campus of Princeton Seminary.  I was joined by Dr. Homrighausen, an elderly, revered, saintly member of the faculty.  “Where are you going?” He asked.  “The library,” was my uninspired answer.  “Ah..the library!” was his response, sounding very much like my 3 year-old grandson, as if the library was the most fascinating place on the face of the earth!  Which of us was closer to the truth?

May The Lord bless each of you this Thanksgiving with an attitude of gratitude.  May He enable you to see the life He has created for you with a sense of wonder and awe.  And then, may your Thanksgiving be real and deep.

In Christ,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor

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