Giving Thanks

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By Jeff Foerster

Have you ever been around thankful people? Do you notice the effect it has upon you? Listening to their positive talk and glass-half-full attitude makes one feel just a little bit better, just a little warmer, as if the sunshine of possibility is rising up inside of you. Rodgers and Hammerstein is flowing through your noggin and out through your whistler: “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.” When those folks are around there ain’t nothin’ that can get you down! That is, unless you’re not feelin’ it.

Sometimes I ain’t feeling it. Sometimes I can’t relate to what they say. While they are zip-a-dee-doo-dah-ing along their yellow brick road, I find myself looking for a bucket, just in case, and trying to cleanse my figurative palate of a generic plastic taste. I am not feeling like giving thanks. And that’s when I start to get it. I look around and realize that many of those giving thanks are not doing so because “sunshine” is always on their doorstep each morning. There are many in our congregation that could make “dour” a lifestyle choice; they bear circumstances and are confronted with feelings that would make such a decision quite easy, even somewhat justifiable.

And there we go … it’s a decision. Giving thanks is a choice. It is not birthed of circumstance and emotion; rather, thanksgiving is an attitude which blossoms in praise, like a plant well-watered by truth about who we are, who God is, and what He has and is doing for us. More than that, I believe its roots go deeper into the soil of trusted, experienced relationship with Jesus.

So I don’t have to wait for emotion to come over me and usher me into thankfulness. I don’t have to sit and wonder why some people “get to” be thankful. I don’t have to be “feelin’ it.” Instead, I can choose first thankfulness and place circumstance and emotion in the able and loving hands of my Creator.

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