This year will be quite different–not only are we living in a new location (Waco, Texas, instead of Duncanville), we also have already had our “Thanksgiving” day over a week ago. We had it when Kirk and Christine (our son and daughter-in-law from Australia) were with us for a week this month and when our Waco family could also be present. I initiated a new round of things to be thankful for–instead of the usual “my family”, etc., I asked each person to pretend that they were a homeless person, a divorced person, someone with cancer, or someone else that might seem to have little to be thankful for (on the surface). What might they possibly be thankful for and how could we help such a person feel thankful?
The homeless was thankful to find a bench, a blanket and some food; the divorced person was glad to be finding new friends; the person with cancer found good treatment at a hospital–and so on. It is difficult to be thankful in situations like those, but it is possible and necessary. Without hope there is nothing to be thankful for, but with the hope that we have as Christians (and of course non-Christians have hope as well), we really have nothing of substance to look forward to and are satisfied with the material things about us. Family is tremendously important, but Christians believe that there is more. We identify with the exhortation that we are strangers or pilgrims here on this earth and have an “earnest” hope for another eternal life. We don’t have any real idea of what it will be like except that in some sense we will be like the angels and that we will joyfully worship God. That seems like something to be thankful for to me.