Not long ago I wrote about the attitude of entitlement that seems to have overtaken Americans, and to be fair, pretty much the whole world. We feel that we deserve much more than basic necessities, and that they are not privileges but rights. We also see a growing belief that we have the right not to be offended, and this cuts across cultures, religions, and age groups.
But an attitude of gratitude isn’t something we can regain by having a big dinner once a year, as we do here in the US on the fourth Thursday of November. God doesn’t want annual lip service, but a life of service. That may seem more like a Christmas “giving” message, but I think there’s a connection between serving others and being grateful when others may serve us for one reason or another. Service requires humility, and the humble tend to also be the grateful.
Right now, on the eve of a national holiday, I feel that the soreness in my lower right jaw is blossoming into yet another abscessed tooth. I could grouse about it happening on a holiday, or I could instead thank God that I live in America where expert dental care can be had in two days, a short distance from my home, and that I have a car to take me there. And if needed, I could go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room and (after about, oh, 4 hours), get temporary relief until my regular dentist can work on it. I also thank God for over-the-counter pain medications that can help in the meantime.
And here I am on my computer, connected to the world. I have reliable electricity, central heat, hot and cold running water, food in the kitchen, and a healthy family. I dine on the richest theological fare every day, and fellowship with some awesome believers I’ve never even seen. And I even get to live in a house full of cute guys! (my husband and sons, and even our two little pups)
And I’m not going anywhere near the stores on “Black Friday”, when people completely forget about thankfulness in a wild pursuit of the most materialistic holiday we celebrate: Christmas. They push and shove and get into fist fights over the latest fad that their children simply must have. They stand in line for hours to get some new game, or get robbed on the way out. Ironic that the day after Thanksgiving should be this way. I’m just guessing here, but maybe if those people lived the grateful life all year, there wouldn’t be such spectacles of greed.
Live the life, walk the walk.