Giving Thanks

“Give thanks to the God of Heaven, whose love endures forever.” Proverbs 136: 26

In honor of Thanksgiving, I will ask my annual ornery question: How are we giving thanks.

We know what we are thankful for. Many of us will go around the table with our families this Thursday and take turns naming the things that bring us joy, comfort, luxury, certainty…all the things for which we give thanks.

But sharing is not the same as giving. Naming is not the same as giving. Reflecting, while important, is not the same as giving.

The challenge for all of us is to find ways of giving our thanks…giving it to God…giving it to our neighbor…giving it to our family. We remember that the first Thanksgiving was a gathering of fairly hostile neighbors. The Separatist Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe had been living in tension, almost becoming warring enemies at several moments throughout the Pilgrims’ first year in Pre-colonial New England. They were so grateful for a large harvest, and the promise that they would survive the upcoming winter, that they invited the Wampanoags to dinner in their village, hosting them, playing games, getting to know them, learning to love them. It was an act of incredible risk…a sign of their desire to work with their neighbors, rather than try to steal their land and murder their people. It was an act of vulnerability and bravery.

If only there could have been more Giving Thanks…and less of the horrors that would come later.

Whatever you are doing this week…whoever you are spending the holiday with…please do what you can to Give Thanks. Find the things you are really grateful for…and use them as fuel to take a chance, take a risk, be brave and be vulnerable…and watch the thanks you give change the world around you.

Brian Gruhn