I'm reading a book called Naked Spirituality, by Brian C. McLaren, and, as God should have it - I happen to be on the two chapters regarding the word "thanks". The italics are his, and there are a lot simply because his words are way better than mine, and today is a great day to share them.
Why are the kids in this picture so happy?
"It's not the amount of stuff you have, it's the amount of appreciation you have that matters."
That is why you can go to a third world country and see genuine smiles on peoples faces - then come back home and see a grumpy kid eating to his hearts content, playing on his Wii in his mansion...
"Consumerism robs the soul of happiness while it sells the soul more stuff."
The goal here, is to make us feel that we need more in order to be happy. Anytime we feel like that; advertising has succeeded. I love my DVR because we can fast-forward commercials. Any time we watch something live, the kids watch the commercials and always see something that they really want to have - drives me nuts. My oldest is a mall-walker. I can't stand it. To me, it creates greed in our hearts seeing all the stuff we don't have, so I avoid it at all costs. Catalogs - another one; I am now (used to keep and circle and covet) tossing them as soon as they exit the mailbox; definitely helps me to fight greed. And, it is actually very freeing - kinda unchained, if you will - not allowing myself to be pulled into this helps me maintain a spirit of gratitude.
In the simple words, "Give us this day, our daily bread," Jesus invites us to radical nonconformity, which means radical liberation from this never-enough system.
Dayenu is a Hebrew word meaning "it would have been enough". Though it is from a Jewish song sung at Passover, recalling all that God had done for them through the generations, it can be used another way too - If God had sent His Son to die for us and did nothing else... dayenu. But He has done more, way more for us!
May you spend today basking in all you have to be thankful for, and not able to stop... And truly believing that.
"Giving" - there is another half to this word that we celebrate today.
I think, in giving, we realize our thanks. Maybe it should be called "Thanks (comes from) Giving".