And yet many people living in poverty exhibit far greater appreciation for what little they have than those of us who possess far more, at least materially. Michael Ramsden, an apologist with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, once commented that he believed one problem in the world is not that we have nothing to be thankful for, but we have no one to be thankful to. I think this is a profound conundrum on Thanksgiving for many people. I read a Facebook comment earlier today in which someone said that Thanksgiving was their favorite holiday because it is for "everyone," regardless of what religion you belong to or where you were born. There is a seed of truth in that, but there is a problem as well.
Who are you grateful to? Oh, I don't mean for the obvious things. Two dear friends of mine just gave me tickets to the Baltimore Ravens game this weekend (my wife has never been to an NFL game). In that situation I know who to thank. But what about the air I breathe? What about the fact that we live on a planet that has the right environmental factors to produce crops? I'm not talking about the surface details like football tickets. I'm talking about the fact that our most fundamental needs for survival are capable of being met. Yes, I am grateful to the farmers who bring us food. But if the Earth was not configured the way it is, it would not matter how much effort was put forth by the farmer, we could not produce crops. Who do you thank for those things?
These are the needs that are more foundational than anything else. If they aren't met, nothing else matters. Yet on this holiday when we are thanking people for football tickets, familial companionship, our job, or those lovely floats going past Macy's, who do we thank for the foundational things?
I thank God. In the theistic worldview, there is an ultimate source for these blessings. Even more so, in Christianity that source is a Person capable of being thanked. It makes no sense to thank some ill defined concept of "Nature" or "Mother Earth." Unless the bestower of these blessings has a will and chose to bless you with them, there is nothing to thank.
So I ask you to reflect this Thanksgiving not just on what you have to be thankful for (if we really think about it, there should be plenty of those things) but on who you are thankful to. If you find yourself struggling to find an answer, drop me a line. God bless you all and happy Thanksgiving.