Thanksgiving is getting to me this year.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
I recently heard a sermon on this passage, and as I sat in church I got to thinking on the little word “in.”
Give thanks IN all circumstances.
I don’t know Greek, and although I was with some friends the other day who do, I forgot to ask them about this particular passage, so I can’t guarantee that the original text says “in.” However, I did check several different translations, and most of them keep the word “in.” None that I checked use the word “for,” which is what I was really wondering about.
Because “Give thanks FOR all circumstances” sounds quite a bit different. A much taller order.
Giving thanks IN all circumstances…ok, that’s still a tall order, but slightly less tall than giving thanks for them.
There are things in life that just suck. Sometimes they suck because we do something dumb, or someone else does something dumb, and sometimes they suck just because the world is broken and messed up. Still, there are always things to be thankful for, even in the middle of an intense suck-fest. Even if it’s as simple as the fact that your eyes or ears work, or for the sun hitting the trees at just the right angle, or a warm fuzzy blanket to wrap up in–these are all things to be thankful for.
I know that I often get bogged down in looking for big things to be thankful for, and if it’s the big things that are going wrong, thankfulness seems elusive. It doesn’t have to be though. I can be thankful IN the midst of all circumstances, even if I can’t quite muster up thankfulness FOR all circumstances. Occasionally, and usually after the big stuff isn’t so bad anymore, I can be thankful for the yucky stuff–or parts of it, anyway. Not that this is easy, or expected, or that I’ll be able to do it always–I’d say the majority of the time I’m not thankful for the difficult stuff, even long after.
But the little things–those I should be thankful for. Always.
Til next time…