25 November 2008

will this be trite?

I hesitate to post anything about Thanksgiving this year, fearing that the words may sound trite. With the economy tanking, family and friends fretting and angry over the elections, and with the garbage I've put up with this year......well, enough said.

But I know I am blessed, and maybe therein lies the problem. I know I am blessed, because I compare myself to others. Not because of an internal well-spring of gratitude, but because I recognize I am better off than someone else.......whether by wealth, health, or circumstances that I was born into.

I guess this is confession time. I look back and I can see how the hand of God has directed my paths and how He has provided. So, why me? I watched a program on PBS a few weeks ago where the setting was an Auschwitz bunker and the Jewish men huddled together were putting God on trial for breaking His covenant with them, that He no longer acted on their behalf for protection. The arguments for and against God were gut-wrenching, particularly as men were dragged out by Nazi guards and executed. Where was the God of Abraham?

That made me thankful.......that I was not a Jew in Germany. But thankful to God? or just fortunate? Fortunate to not be born Jewish, and lets add born into Mexico or Africa, or into the Great Depression. We Americans today have no concept of gratitude or thankfulness, because we rely on comparisons-thank God we're not them, which I believe is the condescending basis of why we are "proud to be Americans", we'd just never admit it. What do you suppose they are thankful for in Darfur? Life?

So, here we sit this year.....me just as guilty as the next guy, around our blessed Thanksgiving tables......it's a lean year for us, we might have to cut back on the fixins, maybe only one helping of mashed potatoes so there is enough to go around.......and in these devastating trials we muster up a thanksgiving prayer. "Oh Lord, Thank God we're not them."

It has to sicken Him. He, the God who told us to to be His hands, feed those who are hungry, to act on behalf of those who have been treated unfairly. Where was God in Auschwitz? Maybe He showed up, but for many it was too late. Where is God in Darfur? Still sitting on our backsides-hopeful that stocks will rebound, thankful that gas is $1.65, praying that the $800 billion given to fluff up the economy will allow us to have a second helping of potatoes next year.

How pitiful. So, what are you thankful for this year? does it even matter? think very hard Thursday-are you comparing, or are you truly grateful?

3 comments:

jimgrey said...

Welp, I wrote a comment that was full of wit and poetry, spoke to the heart of the human condition, would have moved even the most cynical among us -- but the great Blogger comment system ate it, and now I'm all ticked.

But the guts of my comment was that moving from comparison-based gratitude to recognizing God's daily gifts to you even when life is at its blackest for you is, imho, a mark of increasing spiritual maturity.

vanilla said...

Psalm 107.
Pastor used this Sunday and asked us to read it every day this week. Outline of his comments posted on my blog.

We do have so very much for which to be thankful. Are we using our lives in ministry to those lost and in need?
(from one of those born during the depression)

Ishmael said...

I too watched God on Trial and was also VERY thankful not to be incarcerated at Auschwitz.

Perhaps Forrest Gump said it best: Thankful is as thankful does...