I could write another Thanksgiving post saying how thankful I am and for what I am thankful for. And I am. For many reasons. But, being the type of person that I am, I don't want to risk sounding generic. So, I won't.
As a child growing up, I often wondered why people said grace before meals. So I asked and got a multitude of answers, most of which had the same central theme: Thankfulness.
We always paused for a moment before meals at home for a quick prayer, but I noticed that when eating out we didn't. So, naturally I had to ask why this was so. The answer I got didn't set in, until I became a young adult.
Today, on occasion, I am with or notice someone quietly pausing in a restaurant for a moment of thanks before they eat. And I am sure that many do it for the right reasons. But, I also believe that many do it to be seen of men, to be viewed as pious and devout. (The Pharisees of Christ's time stood on the corner so the community would see them pray, and honor them for it. And so do the Pharisees of our time, as well.)
But I say, thankfulness means much more than just saying it to be seen. Thankfulness is not just being seen of men, thanking God for all that has been bestowed upon them. But rather, it is a state of mind. It is an attitude and it is an understanding. It entails much more than going through the rituals and habits, we have learned. It means, we will be just as thankful tomorrow, as we are today. It will not change at midnight, but it will continue throughout the year.
You see, it is my firm belief that being thankful is much more pleasing to God than just saying it. Now don't get me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with saying it. If we feel it, we ought to say it. But, if we only say it and do not feel it, our thanks become empty, meaningless, and as a result of those two, lifeless.
And just because someone does not believe in God, does not mean they cannot be thankful. People can be atheist and be thankful for their families, their jobs, their homes, and many other things which they have. In fact, to believe in God and just go through the motions as the Pharisees did (and still do) is far less honorable, than those that actually feel thankful.
So, to all that celebrate Thanksgiving, I truly hope yours is a happy one.