Why I Am Thankful

Daniel and I talked a lot about what we were thankful for as the days led up to Thanksgiving this past Thursday. Of course, we were thankful for the Gospel, each other, our friends and family, and our time at Southern Seminary. We both talked about how we had seen God work in our lives since last Thanksgiving, and thought about how grateful we were for the experience of pregnancy, though brief and ultimately sorrowful. As the weekend went on I found myself increasingly unable to "feel" thankful. In fact, there were moments where I couldn't even remember what I had been thankful for just the few days before.

I have been reading through D.A. Carson's book Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, and in the kind providence of God I read this just last night (Carson is talking in reference to the death of Lazarus and how Jesus speaks to Martha before raising Lazarus):

"Jesus butts up against devestating loss and offers comfort - by diverting attention to himself. I am not for a moment suggesting that there is no place in our consoling of those who are bereaved for simply listening, weeping, holding a hand, helping with the gardening, or preparing a meal. But among genuine believers, the greatest consolation of all comes from focusing on Christ. Not even the raw creedal points of faith are sufficient, as important as they are. For example, 'You will see your brother again: there is a general resurrection at the end of the age.' That is true, and Martha believed it; but it didn't help much. What Jesus does is divert attention to himself. Believers will understand that this is spectacularly encouraging and glorious; others will interpret Jesus' approach as scandalously egocentric."

He goes on to say:

"In our deepest loss, we need more than friendship and a listening ear - though they are wonderful. We need more than mere arguments - though in some cases good arguments stabilize us. We need the reality of God himself - God as he has spectacularly and definitively disclosed himself to us in the person of his Son. He will require of us that we focus our attention on him, both for this life and the one to come."

When I read that I was stunned. It's true. No amount of me trying to theologize my feelings will make me feel thankful. I need to know God, through Christ, and ponder and treasure his work on my behalf.

Did it work immediately? No. Am I still as thankful as I should, or want to, be? No. But I do know as I finish up this Thanksgiving weekend and move into the Christmas season that my only hope for thankfulness and joy is in this little baby born in a dirty manger long, long ago. His name is Jesus. He is my only hope in this life, and the glorious one to come.