We should not need to have a “Thanksgiving Day” to remind us to be grateful. Neither should we need God’s Word to repeatedly prompt us to be thankful. Yet, the words “thanks, thanksgiving, and thank” appear in the Bible 128 times and there are many additional passages that admonish us to be thankful.
Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “How strange that the Lord must plead with those whom He has saved from the pit to show gratitude to Him!”
Pierre Charron, the 16th century French theologian, stated, “He who receives a benefit should never forget it; he who bestows it should never remember it.”
Let me share with you some of the things for which I am grateful.
I am thankful for my wife and that my wife learned to cook. Martha Jean is a wonderful cook today, but that has not always been the case. Just a few weeks after we got married she attempted to make a pound cake. It was slightly more palatable than Play-Doh and had the elasticity of a polybutadiene, rubber, bouncing ball.
However her days in the minor league of culinary arts were brief and she became a super cook. Today her cream cheese pound cake is as succulent as anything that ever crossed your palate and her beef stroganoff would make Emeril Lagasse jealous. So, I am thankful for my wife for many reasons, but her cooking gives me a giddy kind of gratitude.
However, when we are in a mad rush and there is no time for cooking and we want a dessert to satisfy our sweet tooth, we go to the grocery story and buy one of Marie Callender’s Razzleberry Pies.
Marie is no match for Martha Jean, but her Razzleberry Pie is worth a few “hallelujahs.” (If I get any kickbacks for this promotion I promise to give it to the Cooperative Program).
I am also thankful for the Indian summer we have had this year. I think the term “Indian summer” originated in America, but it has its European equivalent. In Germany it is called “Altweibersommer,” or “old women’s summer.” Well, on the basis of that translation I do not qualify in terms of gender, but I certainly do qualify in terms of chronology. In other words, at my age I prefer an “old men’s summer” to a crippling cold at this time of year.
I am also thankful for the smell of scented candles. When we go to Southern Baptists’ favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel, I don’t mind if I have to wait to be seated, because that will give me a chance to smell the variety of scented candles in the gift store section of the establishment.
Even though I am from the South I set aside all my biases and smell the “Yankee Candles.” Three whiffs of their Spiced Pumpkin, Balsam and Cedar, or White Peach and Mango candles and I am ready to move to South Deerfield, MA, the location of the company’s headquarters. I am thankful for the smell of those wonderful scented candles. One day I am going to actually buy one.
I am also thankful for Barney Fife. When we are at home in the evening, Martha Jean and I have dinner at an early hour so we can watch the Andy Griffin Show on the TV Land channel. Yes, I have seen them all before, but Barney Fife makes me laugh no matter how many times I have seen the same episode. I cannot understand why Sheriff Taylor didn’t fire him for his crazy misadventures, but then Barney is always worth a barrel of giggles.
I also like the fact than many of the Andy Griffin Shows have moral lessons that are absent from current television programs. In some of the programs they are having choir practice at the church or making reference to some eternal truth or Andy is emphasizing the importance of honesty to his son, Opie. I am thankful for that.
I am also thankful for the approaching Christmas season. As I get older it seems like Christmas comes every three or four months, but I love the spirit of Christmas. Putting up all those decorations is a real headache and seeing the real significance of Christmas minimized in so many quarters is heartbreaking, but celebrating the birth of our Savior is incredibly heartwarming.
John Boys, the Dean of Canterbury in the 17th century, said, “In the creation, the Lord made man like himself; but in the redemption he made himself like man.” In other words, He took our flesh upon Him that He might take our sins upon Him.
Christmas is about giving, sharing, singing, fellowship, family, worshipping, reflecting, rejoicing, loving, hoping, praying, and witnessing that the whole world will come to understand that the Son of God became the Son of Man in order that the sons of men might become the sons of God.
There are innumerable spiritual blessings for which I am eternally grateful and for God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ I am supremely grateful, but I must not fail to be thankful for the scent of candles and the taste of Razzleberry pies along the way to heaven.
I am even praying that God will help me to be thankful for adversities, because I know He is using them to chip away the dross in my life to make me more like Jesus.