November brings us to the beginnings of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
In one of my favorite Peanuts comic strips, Lucy’s feeling sorry for herself and she laments, “My life is a drag. I’m completely fed up. I’ve never felt so low in my life.”
Her little brother Linus tries to console her and he says, “Lucy, when you’re in a mood like this, you should try to think of things you have to be thankful for; in other words, count your blessings.”
To that, Lucy says, “Ha! That’s a good one! I could count my blessings on one finger! I’ve never had anything and I never will have anything. I don’t get half the breaks that other people do. Nothing ever goes right for me! And you talk about counting blessings! You talk about being thankful! What do I have to be thankful for?”
Linus says, “Well, for one thing, you have a little brother who loves you.”
With that, Lucy runs and hugs little brother Linus as she cries tears of joy, and while she’s hugging him tightly, Linus says, “Every now and then, I say the right thing.”
There is a story of a teenager and his very first job in a small-town general store. This was the day before malls and supermarket chains when the General Store was in every small town and in most neighborhoods in large cities. At age thirteen he was hired as a handy boy. He would sweep the floor, bag items for customers, put up stock. On one particular Saturday, he recalled, he heard the owner say to one of the clerks “It’s that time of the year again, it’s time to take inventory.” The boy had never heard the word, “inventory” before. When an opportune moment arrived, he went up to the kindly owner and asked, Sir, what is an inventory? Patiently the owner explained that it was a time when you made a list of everything that you had from groceries on the shelves to wrapping paper and string. Still somewhat puzzled, the young man then asked, Why?
“Well,” responded the owner, “it’s easy to forget exactly how much you have each year. Every now and then you have to take an inventory just to see what all you have.”
That little story, to me, pretty well sums up what Thanksgiving is all about. It is a time when each of us needs to ask ourselves the question: Have I taken inventory of my life lately? Have I made an effort to count all the things that I do have in life instead of complaining about the things that I don’t have? It is a good exercise especially when we are of a mind to brood or whine in self-pity. Have you taken inventory lately?
What I am suggesting here is not some shallow “count your blessings” platitude. But from time to time, in a genuine kind of a way, we need to sit down and do some talking to ourselves about all of the gifts and opportunities and challenges that God has given each one of us. Perhaps there is a deep underlying wisdom in the children’s poem that says: “Count your blessings one by one, and you might be surprised what the Lord has done.”
Right now, like Linus in the comic strip above, I’m going to say the right thing to you: We have a God who loves us. If that doesn’t make us sing a song of Thanksgiving, I don’t know what would.
Thanksgiving blessings to you all!