My parents take the whole idea of gratitude very seriously, and I’m glad they do. From the time I was just a wee girl in Northern Ireland, they have instilled in me the importance of expressing thanks to both God and people. I remember always thanking God for our food. And, I remember the infamous question that was inevitable upon leaving somebody’s house, “Now, what do you say, Angela?” As I got older, instead of asking me the question, they would just give me the eyes, which did the trick just fine. I remember, on birthdays and at Christmastime, receiving nice gifts from people. As I tore into these presents, paper in a flurry, my mum would be sitting with a pen in hand, keeping a list of what gift was from which person, so that I could properly thank them.
Before I knew it, saying thank you was routine (automatic, if you will). It wasn’t an empty habit though, nor did it feel like a duty. It wasn’t done for manners’ sake, and my parents certainly were not in the business of creating polite robots. Rather, they showed me that gratitude should be the way of life for the Christian. (This is the Lord’s grace, for sure.)
Now I’m twenty-one years of age, and becoming more and more independent with each passing year. I no longer have my parents reminding me to say thank you; it’s up to me now. And I want to continue in this grateful way of life – not because that’s how I was raised, not because it’s the nice thing to do, not even because it’s the right thing to do – but because of God. I cannot realize the magnitude of His blessings, and not respond in thanks. Doesn’t the Psalmist say, “How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me?” A few verses later, he says, “I will sacrifice a thank offering to You.” Psalm 116
When is the last time that you, or I, thanked the custodian? the cafeteria worker? the gardener? a pastor? a friend? a family member? and really meant it?
Thanksgiving should be a year-round holiday for the child of God, starting with today. Let’s appreciate people more, and God the most. Let’s get those two little words back into our daily vocabulary again. Let’s not underestimate the blessing of a sincere thank you.
for more on gratitude, see: http://rawchristianity.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/gratitude-in-community/