Many people are struggling this holiday. As we prepare for our second pandemic Thanksgiving, some of us are wondering how long will it be like this. Gone are the days of our big multi-generational feasts. Instead, we gather in smaller groups, thankful nonetheless.
There is a difference, however between being grateful and giving thanks. Being grateful is a feeling. Giving thanks is an action. I’m reminded of the story of 10 lepers. Jesus was minding his own business, when a group of people who had been cast from society called out to him for mercy. Jesus, the miracle worker, didn’t heal them immediately. He didn’t lay hands on them. He simply gave them instructions, and as they followed his instructions, they were healed.
Of course, all ten were grateful. Their pain was alleviated. Their flesh was restored. They could return to their homes and loved ones. But of those 10, only one went back to offer thanks. The Bible says he cried out with a loud voice, and fell at Jesus’ feet.
A few months ago, I threw a birthday party for my son. We had no parties at all in 2020. My baby boy was so excited. Every time he opened a gift. He said thank you to the giver. Then he walked over and hugged them. He hugged his friends and their parents. My son modeled for us all that Thanksgiving requires action. You have to say something, but you also have to do something.
I imagine it will look different for all of us, but I pray that on this holiday that you are not just grateful, but that you find a new way to give thanks.