Let’s face it. Thanksgiving is a pretty easy holiday. For most of us it’s eating, watching football and reading the newspaper circulars as we pray we don’t find anything we really feel a need to fight the Black Friday crowd to buy. Even the purpose of the holiday is pretty easy. Most of us, most of the time, have no trouble finding things we are thankful for. We have family, a bit of money in the bank, a job we can sort of count on, relatively good health and a few years left to do something.
There are times for a few of us that Thanksgiving is a bit hard. Some years everyone we want to have around our table can’t make it. Health gets to be a concern as we age. The wallet is not as fat as we would like as we approach retirement. The years we have left to “make something of ourselves” are distressingly fewer. If the forecast isn’t exactly stormy, it’s not necessarily bright blue skies either. Sometimes Thanksgiving is a little work. We have to dig a bit to be upbeat and to find things to be thankful for. There is always our Savior, family and such, but we don’t always feel their presence at such times. There is sometimes a touch of the blues.
It’s for those years we need to dig a little to find our gratitude. It’s then that we need to consider the lives of those whom God used greatly. We need to remember that Moses was eighty years old and tending sheep in the desert for his father-in-law when the burning bush thing happened. Daniel’s best moment was in captivity in a lion’s den. Joseph was sold into slavery. Paul was struck blind and knocked off his horse while on a murderous spree against the followers of Jesus. The rest of his life consisted of beatings and being ship wrecked. Noah had to put up with ridicule while building a boat with not a cloud in the sky. Peter has to be remembered for denying his Lord three times.
The Lord isn’t most obviously with us on mountain tops. What need have we of him when the blessings seem to be rolling in? When we are mourning those we have lost, when we seem a bit lost ourselves. When our road seems headed into a dark and deep valley, when darkness blots out the sun. It’s then that we can expect a miraculous intervention. It’s then that the presence of God is deepest. Cloudy days are no reason for despair. It’s time to give thanks, even if we have to dig a bit for it.