By Chaplain (Maj.) Michael PattersonNovember 24, 2017
There is something about the word "thanksgiving" and "gratitude" that often makes us feel good about the world around us, even when we are bombarded with so many scenes and news stories of turmoil and chaos. You may have never heard of a man by the name of John Henry Jowett, a British Protestant preacher at the turn of the 20th century, but I think he got to the truth of thanksgiving. Jowett said that thanksgiving is three things --
First, thanksgiving is a vaccine. It is a vaccine that has the power and ability to prevent the invasion of a disgruntled attitude. It can be strongly argued that our attitude about a particular situation -- any situation for that matter -- can determine how we act, react and continue on with true living, indeterminate of the outcome of that given situation. Being thankful in all situations is a choice: our choice. We have a choice. Understandably, this is often easier said than done, but nonetheless, we always have a choice. We can choose to be disgruntled because of the situation, or we can choose to be thankful and have an attitude of gratitude. It's really our choice. Choose thanksgiving. Choose gratitude.
Second, "thanksgiving" is an antitoxin. Toxins destroy, eat away and change whatever they come in contact with.
There is a bird in New Guinea called the blue-capped ifrit that is toxic to humans who simply handle the bird. The bird's favorite food is a certain beetle that contains high levels of batrachotoxin, which causes numbness, tingling, and in certain cases, cardiac arrest. There is no antitoxin for this poison.
There is, however, an antitoxin for the poison of grumbling and fault-finding. That antitoxin is thanksgiving.
The Psalmist wrote, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
-- Psalm 28:7
A third aspect of thanksgiving is that it is an antiseptic. When trouble comes upon us, a spirit of thanksgiving is a soothing antiseptic. When we are having trouble, often we need some assistance.
Dr. Joseph Lister was once summoned to attend a rich lord who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. Dexterously, the great surgeon removed the bone. Overcome with gratitude, the patient asked Dr. Lister what was owed him. Lister replied with a smile, "My lord, suppose we settle for half of what you would be willing to give me if the bone were still lodged in your throat." Although the removal of the fishbone was not an antiseptic, its removal kept the lord from getting worse. An attitude of thanksgiving allows us to change the course of our assumed future.
For Thanksgiving 2017, choose to vaccinate yourself with thanksgiving against a disgruntled attitude. Instead of grumbling and fault-finding, be consumed with the antitoxin of thanksgiving, and apply the antiseptic of thanksgiving when trouble rears its head.
Be a person of thankfulness. Life will never be the same.