I haven’t posted anything here for a long time, which they say is the worst blogging sin you can commit. Firmly committed to the principle of grace, I can only respond, “Oh, well.” But, I’ve been thinking, which probably means eventually I’ll be writing again. I do plan to continue my “This I Know” series, which focuses on the simple things of Christianity that I knew as a child, and which I still believe are true.
This post will probably be rewritten at some point as part of that series.
This weeks’ revelation
I occasionally have revelations, typically when I least expect them. That’s probably why they fall under the category of revelations. I had one yesterday. Contrary to the popular concept of revelations, the heavens didn’t open, I didn’t receive stone or golden tablets (or tablets of any kind), and I still don’t understand Lady Gaga. My revelation was more along the lines of a head-slapping, “I could have had a V8!” moment. It happened as I was not having a good day and there was very little chance of interpreting the glass as being half-full. My revelation was this:
Cast your cares upon him, as he cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:7
“Him,” by the way, refers to Jesus (I just had to clarify that in case someone took this to mean I had suddenly come to embrace Obamacare. And no, having a revelation of this sort does nothing to inhibit my tendency towards sarcasm.).
I have to say, I felt a bit foolish, as I have known this verse since I was a child. It’s so incredibly obvious that for this to be considered a revelation, I must be particularly dull. And, perhaps experiencing some adult-onset ADS, I began to appreciate the play on words in this particular translation. “Anxiety” just doesn’t have the same impact as the double use of “cares.”
It is impossible for us to say that we have no one to turn to, as Jesus is always standing there with an implied “What am I, chopped liver?” response. There are those who will point out that talking to Jesus is not the same as talking to someone you can touch; however, I’ve never been inclined to touch most of my friends anyway. Atheists can refuse to believe he exists, but their failure to believe doesn’t change the truth of the verse. Likewise, our forgetfulness doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is there, ready to take our yoke, carry our burdens, and so on.
For this, I am thankful.
Count your blessings
As a kid, my dad would always frustrate me with that “count your blessings” thing. Often, I didn’t want to count my blessings, as I knew that I would have to let go of my grumbling and complaining to do so. It’s impossible to do both at the same time. Even if we try, acknowledging that something is a blessing—something that we have received through grace, for which we have to be thankful—causes us to have to let go of our negativity.
This doesn’t mean that we will automatically be free from our anxieties, but being thankful does point us in the right direction.
This Thursday is Thanksgiving, probably the only holiday that is permanently fixed on a Thursday rather than on a numerical day of the month. This is not really pertinent to my topic, but I do find it interesting. Why Thursday, except to kick off a 4-day weekend? Thanksgiving is not strictly a religious holiday, although it does presume that there is Someone to thank. You could, I guess thank yourself for everything you’ve accomplished, or sit around and thank each other. You could thank your employer for the paychecks, and you could thank the government for the roads and so on, and I suppose you could thank universe for kicking things off with a Big Bang. But, it’s not the same.
Thanksgiving traditionally commemorates the mythological First Thanksgiving (not that it can’t be true, but mythological in the sense that it has come to represent something larger than itself), where the Pilgrims threw a feast to celebrate being alive after a difficult 1st year in the new world, and gave thanks to God the provider for what they had been given.
Being thankful—whether we like it or not, or whether we acknowledge it or not—points us toward our creator and provider. And, for those of us who can acknowledge Jesus the source of all good things, it puts us in the perfect position to cast our cares on him.
I have a lot to be thankful for. Without getting too personal, I’ll just say that I’m happy to be here. Today is my son’s birthday, and I’m thankful for him. I’m thankful for my non-birthday kids, too. I’m thankful for my wife, and for the family members that are still with us (I’ve lost a few over the years). I’m thankful for God’s provision, and a lot of other things I won’t mention, specifically the banjo.
Now that I’m older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I have learned that I don’t like to grumble and complain. No one will listen to me anyway. I’d actually much rather be thankful. I like counting my blessings, one by one. It makes me feel better, and keeps me from getting wacked out over things that won’t matter 10 years from now.
The real meaning of Thanksgiving
People always talk about “the real meaning of Christmas,” but no one ever talks about the real meaning of Thanksgiving. It’s not football, or turkey, or shopping. It’s also not about family, as good as family is. The real importance of Thanksgiving is having a day set aside to reorient ourselves toward the only one who will actually catch our cares should we decide to cast them in his direction.
And that, Charlie Brown, is what Thanksgiving is all about.