From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Thanks For…

At this time of year we’ll be seeing signs, hearing messages about giving thanks for the good things we have. In my obnoxious sort of way I say: Big deal. Anyone can give thanks for the good things they have. Though come to think of it, not all little kids I’ve known  have been grateful for the stuff they have. But I’m wondering – does a Christian give thanks for the good things they have? Or do they go farther than that? Another way of asking it is, did Jesus have to get tortured to death for us to give thanks for the good things we have have?

How about giving thanks for the good things we don’t have? That would be a real sign of loving the Giver more than the gifts wouldn’t it? Or how about giving thanks for the bad things we have – “thank you God for this cancer; thank you for this divorce” – that would be quite a witness too, wouldn’t it? A witness to a God who is greater and more precious to us than the good things, or the bad things, that we do or don’t have.

I know I know, I’m being grinchly. But I think I’m being Biblical too. Besides that, tonight at our community thanksgiving eve service, I’ll be able to sing with a whole heart the hymn entitled Thanks To God For My Redeemer. I don’t know that the words are all that poetic or profound, but you can swing a stein to this tune and sing for the good things, and the bad things, that we have – because we have someOne much bigger:

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

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