E-pistle November 26

The for which and the to whom of Thanksgiving
 
The TV commentators at the Thanksgiving Day parades are sure to ask it, and if the score is too lopsided, so are the announcers for tomorrow's NFL games.  "So, John, what are you thankful for?" Al may ask sometime in the third quarter. 
 
"What are you thankful for?" probably will be asked millions of times around family tables across the land.  It's a good question and the answers many and varied.  But there is a companion question that doesn't get asked so often in our God-avoiding culture:  "To whom are you thankful?" 
 
Americans love Thanksgiving Day not just for the turkey dinners and the four-day weekend.  Americans love Thanksgiving Day precisely because we somehow know that we are a people of an abundant wealth of opportunity, freedom and prosperity.  An uncertain economy may shake our confidence just a bit, but not such much that we forget that we have much for which to be thankful. 
 
But if you listen carefully, a lot of folks are not so sure about the "to whom" of giving thanks.  We give thanks for health, family, friends and jobs, yet it's not clear if the source of those blessings is our own hard work, wise decisions or good luck.  Sometimes it seems as if we think "blessings" is just another way of saying good luck. 
 
People with a biblically-informed worldview know that blessings are more than the roll of the dice.  Scripture is clear.  Blessings always have a from whom.  Blessings come from the God we meet in Jesus Christ, the God whose presence we know by the power of the promised Holy Spirit. 
 
This year's Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving Day  has a certain quiet tone to it; appropriate to the year.  Say what you may about a hundred other things, but the President got this one absolutely right, "Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for all that we have been given, the freedoms we enjoy, and the loved ones who enrich our lives. We recognize that all of these blessings, and life itself, come not from the hand of man but from Almighty God."
 
If you are with friends and family tomorrow (a gift to you from God) you just may hear someone ask, "What are you thankful for?"  It's a good question. Why not begin your answer by saying, "I'm thankful to God for…"  Those who know God to be the author of all things will be glad for the reminder and those who don't may be challenged to think for a minute about the to whom of their for which. 
 
As for me, there are so many things for which I am thankful – family, friends, health, opportunity, a community of faith named LPC, just to name a few.  But there's just One to whom I am thankful.