8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
What is it today that we are thankful for? Many today will gather around a table with friends and family with some inkling of why they may suppose to be thankful. Words like family, friends, happiness, hearth, home etc. may dance in sugar plummed brains. Yet, there will be little reference in said brain to the reality of what it means to be thankful in the way that Christians are to be thankful.
I remember as a child watching certain movies every year with my family during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Particularly, almost every Thanksgiving evening we would gather around and watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Instead of sugar plums we watched Clark W. Griswold strive for some sort of hyper idealistic notion of reality that simply did not exist.
Often it seems, our dreams of family bliss are interrupted by Cousin Eddie and his dog named Snots, the beautiful turkey turns out to be hollow and dry, aunt Edna put cat food in the jello mold, and a squirrel has found it’s forever home in our Christmas tree. Life is said, after all, to imitate art.
Yet, the Lord's calling remains for us to be thankful. What do we do with that? What do we do when the world is changing faster than we can keep track of? What do we do when long Covid is brewing as the new fear over the hill, RSV is going to kill all our children, and turkey is at $800.00 a pound?
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
I think a key question for us today is not one of thankfulness. Instead we should be thinking on contentment. We also read in Scripture something about what it means to look for contentment and satisfaction in the things that the Lord has given us.
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”
We should be asking ourselves this season not what it is that we are thankful for, but instead what has the Lord made our hearts glad in? Are we content in what we have? Are we glad in the Lord's provision? Are we happy to look at the Hill of Calvary?
That is the greatest question facing us today and everyday. Where is it that we might presume our help has come from? Calvary of the world? Jesus or our own hands? Are we only playing at the nature of happiness? Knife and two pronged fork in hand salivating over an empty turkey, with our eye on our neighbor's wife? (And his jet ski too!)
The truth is that we are to be a thankful people. Yet, I also think that we must see that thankful people are glad people. So today we should be the happiest and the most content people on the block. We should love our children, show extra care for our wife (or husband for you ladies), we should make as much merry making as we can possibly make. Yet, it should all flow from a heart that is glad in the Lord above all else. May God bless you today in your endeavors to make merry.