Giving thanks is a rather strange business when you think about it.
If someone does not thank us when we do something for him or give her a gift, we feel rather empty and even rejected. Yet when someone does thank us, and particularly when someone thanks us a little too profusely, we often say, “Don’t mention it,” as if we’re embarrassed or we need to push the person away from us a bit. We feel a need to give thanks, but not too much thanks; and we feel a need to receive thanks, but not too much thanks. Rather a strange business.
And perhaps giving thanks is such a strange business because, as someone has pointed out, to give thanks is to seek to have a place within someone else’s life and to receive thanks is to give someone a place within our lives. We will resist that at times and protect ourselves from that. Maybe that’s why giving and receiving thanks often doesn’t go beyond polite and meaningless words -- because to really give and receive thanks is to allow someone into our lives and hearts and to recognize our need for others and our dependence on them. And that’s not an easy thing for us to do.
Of course, this is also true when it comes to God. To give thanks to God is to give God a place in our lives and hearts, it is to recognize our need for God and our dependence on God and it is to recognize that all we have is a gift from God.
Thanksgiving of course will soon be upon us. And if we want to make it a special Thanksgiving, the best thing we could do would be to actually thank another person for who he or she is in our lives and to thank God for all God’s gifts to us -- the best thing we could do is actually give God and other people a place within our lives, allow them to draw near.
The amazing thing is that in doing that we will find that we will have more and more to give thanks for each day.
And we will have a special opportunity to give thanks when we have a Thanksgiving Eve Service of Worship and Communion on Wednesday, November 26, at 7:30 PM. Take the time to stop for a moment, worship, give thanks, and give God a place within your life.
God be with you,