For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him…
Romans 1:21 ESV
According to the Apostle Paul one of the core issues of our fallen condition is that we are unthankful. All the sin in the world, the idolatrous pursuit of created things for rest and joy, stems in part from our failure to give thanks to God.
This is an echo of what happened in the Garden of Eden at the beginning, when the first man and woman failed to give thanks. They had a home, they had a meaningful calling, they had an abundance of food, they had each other, they had the honor of being a special creation made in the image of God, but when tempted with the impossible possibility of more… they lost sight of those things which they had. They ceased to be thankful and this deficit of gratitude toward their Creator gave birth to a humanity which is constantly reaching for more and never able to come to a place of rest with what they graciously have.
The futility we experience now in a broken world stems from this unthankfulness. Our jealousy, anxiety, covetousness, lust, anger, can be traced to this fallen nature we share with our first parents. The system of this world is a system born, in half, by unthankfulness.
But every day that we wake up with breath is an opportunity to revolt against this system. And Thanksgiving Day, because of its emphasis on this issue of gratitude, is especially an opportunity to consciously rebel against this ungrateful nature that mars our humanity. It is an opportunity to pause and to recognize the good things we have which we have done nothing to merit – which is every good thing. The chance to put the brakes on the destructive cycle of ingratitude.
And if Thanksgiving Day is a great opportunity to revolt, the greatest resource for revolt is the message of the Cross of Christ. In the message of the cross we have the greatest instance of us getting goodness we do not deserve. We see not merely a kind gift, like friends or jobs or a good meal, but a gift that is the direct opposite of what we have invited by our unthankfulness.
It is in the good news of God’s love seen in Christ that we find how we can be thankful in every circumstance on any given day. Because it is in the cross that we find the gift of something good, the Greatest Good, which never fades, never goes away, that cannot be lost – even when the heart-monitor flatlines.
So today, on Thanksgiving Day, revolt by ceasing to look forward to all the things you are chasing for peace and rest. Revolt by taking stock of the goodness you have. And revolt by resting content in the finished work of Christ which has delivered to you – through faith – life and love which you do not deserve and which will never be lost.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV