If it is a “feel” thing, than I may be in trouble this year - this Thanksgiving. It is not that there are not ample reasons to feel grateful, but for some reason I am quite flat. It might be the weather! Everyone knows how much I despise the cold. That’s right! I despise it. It could be the late light in the morning and early dark at night here in the north. Regardless, I am, as my therapist wife would say, non-affective (as in unemotional...not the disorder).
I am, however, not persuaded that being grateful is as much “feeling” as it is discipline. Not the arduous type, but simply a choice. Paul wrote, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15) Regardless of how I feel (and you may be in the same place), I still can be thankful. I still can intentionally count the things in my life, whether in consolation or desolation, that are gifts. And when I say gifts, I mean something that I can trace back to God’s gracious life toward me.
Ok, here is what we as a family have always done and I would encourage you try it. It is called the “Thankful Game.” Simply complete the statement, “I am thankful for (or because)…”
…my always encouraging and supportive wife. She is beautiful in everyway. A miracle that she loves crazy me!
…the children God has giving me to love, protect and disciple.
…the warmth of consistent, enduring and loving friends.
…sweet 3 point jumpers (I had to throw that in).
…um, um, ok, the colder days as it gives seasonal variety to life (ouch, that one was hard to get out).
…beautiful art and music.
…my amusing and creative son-in-law.
…a community of faith that has challenged, loved, held and supported me for 20 years.
I could go on...really! Even though I don't "feel" like it, I still can exercise the gift of choice. The amazing thing that happens when you do apply this is you actually start to recollective the emotion of thankfulness. I think it has something to do with Jesus' words about "...where your treasure is, there your heart (emotions) will follow." Anyway...
Think about this: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” Hebrews 12:28