Because holidays can become near-ideal and almost mythical in my memories, the Lord has been clearing that fog of expectation and delusion out of my mind. And I’m so grateful! Today, as I gather with my family to celebrate Thanksgiving, here are a few of the things that I’ve already given thanks to God for in spiritual preparation.
Thank You for the food I spill.
Thank You for the niece who screams in my face.
Thank You for the foot I put in my mouth.
Thank You for the awkward moment that won’t be broken.
Thank You for the nephew that pitches a fit.
Thank You for the food that goes down the wrong pipe, choking me.
Thank You for the time that I laugh inappropriately.
Thank You for the cutting remark that hurts my heart.
Thank You for the din of noise that fries my brain.
Thank You for the conversation that stayed shallow when I wanted more.
Thank You for the pain I see and cannot fix.
Thank You for all the little things that go wrong.
I don’t struggle to thank God with all my heart for the grace and love and unexpected heart connections. It’s easy to thank Him for the peace and the fun and the warmth of family bonds. How quick is my gratitude when everything clicks as it should! It’s all the other stuff that I stumble over—the very, very human reality. I struggle to thank God for what I see as failures, either mine or someone else’s. But I’m prompted by this question: What if they aren’t failures?
Humanity is Just Humanity
If God wanted perfection and nothing but perfection, this universe would look very different. He’s GOD – He most certainly could have prevented the fall of both angels and humans. So maybe God has a different view of humanity than I do. Maybe His idea of imperfection is different from mine. Some of the things that I call failures, whether in dignity or intelligence or propriety, might in fact be simple humanity.
What if Jesus didn’t “deign” to eat with the publicans and commoners? What if Jesus, having been present at humanity’s creation, actually enjoyed the company of these untutored, unpolished, undignified people? Is that really so impossible to believe? Does it really make more sense that He held His divine nose and slummed it with so-called failures? I have no idea what Jesus would do, so why am I always so sure of what He would NOT do?
I’m going to thank God for making me human. I’m going to thank Him that the only expectation of perfection I can rightly have is of His Son. I’m asking the Lord to see humanity with His eyes, as He sees it in others as well as myself. I’m surrendering my expectations and my agenda; instead of things “going wrong,” I’m grateful for the day unfolding itself under God’s sovereign hand, whatever that looks like.
A very merry Thanksgiving to you all!
You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 118:28-29 NKJV